• Glossary
Other Glossaries
For a more expansive listing of housing terms, visit these Web sites:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Glossary
Center for Housing Policy Glossary
Affordable Housing Preservation Terms Glossary
This glossary contains definitions for terms that are commonly used in the affordable housing industry.


The use of CDBG funds to acquire real property, in whole or in part, by purchase, long-term lease, donation, or otherwise, for any public purpose.  Real property to be acquired may include: land, air rights, easements, water rights, right-of-ways, buildings and other property improvements, or other interests in real property.  Clearance, demolition, and removal of buildings and improvements including movement of structures to other sites. This activity is eligible pursuant to 24 CFR, Section 570.201 and will benefit low and moderate income families and individuals.

Area Median Income (AMI)
The estimated median income, adjusted for family size, by metropolitan area (or county in nonmetropolitan areas) that is adjusted by HUD annually and used as the basis of eligibility for most housing assistance programs.

This program is designed to remove barriers, improve accessibility to the elderly (62 years of age or older) and disabled persons, and to provide for health and safety repairs as needed by older and disabled persons to maintain their independence. Health and safety repairs may include repairs unrelated to accessibility and barrier removal. This activity is eligible pursuant to 24 CFR, Section 570.614 and will benefit low and moderate income families and individuals.

Cost Burden
Spending more than 30 percent of income on housing costs.

Entitlement Municipality
A city or urban community with a population of 50,000 or more which, because of its size, receives Community Development Block Grant funds directly from the federal government.

Extremely Low Income (ELI)
Households with incomes at or below 30 percent Area Median Income.

Fair Housing Act
Federal legislation, first enacted in 1968, that provides the Secretary of HUD with investigation and enforcement responsibilities for fair housing practices. It prohibits discrimination in housing and lending based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status.

Foreclosure Prevention/Counseling
This program is designed to provide foreclosure prevention assistance to homeowners through comprehensive case management, counseling & education, and lender mediation.

Inclusionary zoning
A zoning ordinance that requires a developer to include affordable housing as part of a development or contribute to a fund for such housing.

Infill Development
The practice of building on vacant or undeveloped parcels in dense areas, especially urban and inner suburban neighborhoods. Promotes compact development, which in turn allows undeveloped land to remain open and green.

Low Income (LI)
Households with incomes between 50 and 80 percent Area Median Income.

Not Low Income
Households with incomes greater than 80 percent Area Median Income.

Program Administration
CDBG funds may be used for the general administration costs incurred by a Sub-recipient to administer their CDBG program.  Administration costs directly associated with a CDBG activity should be part of the activity as program administration.

Purchase/Down-Payment Assistance
Homeownership assistance activities may include financial assistance for down-payments, closing costs or other part of the purchase process and counseling for pre-purchase, post-purchase or foreclosure prevention.

Residential Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation related activities may include single-family rehabilitation, multi-family rehabilitation, energy efficiency improvements, and public housing modernization.

Section 8
Refers to the major federal (HUD) program – actually a collection of programs – providing rental assistance to low-income households to help them pay for housing. Participating tenants pay 30% of their income (some pay more) for housing (rent and basic utilities) and the federal subsidy pays the balance of the rent. The Program is now officially called the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Severe Cost Burden
Spending more than 50 percent of income on housing costs.

Smart Growth
The term used to refer to a rapidly growing and widespread movement that calls for a more coordinated,
environmentally sensitive approach to planning and development. A response to the problems associated with unplanned, unlimited suburban development – or sprawl – smart growth principles call for more efficient land use, compact development patterns, less dependence on the automobile, a range of housing opportunities and choices, and improved jobs/housing balance.

Very Low Income (VLI)
Households with incomes between 30 and 50 percent Area Median Income.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The primary federal agency for regulating housing, including fair housing and housing finance. It is also the major federal funding source for affordable housing programs.


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