Affordable Housing 101

What is "Affordable Housing"?

  • "Affordable housing" is housing that is affordable to households with low incomes, meaning that these households pay no more than 30% of their income for housing costs like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • "Low-income" is based on the Area Median Income ("AMI") of the city or county. Typically, households are considered low-income if they earn no more than 80% of AMI
    • Households earning under 50% of AMI are considered very low-income
    • Households earning under 30% of AMI are considered extremely low-income 
    • FY 2022

      Income Limit Area

      Median Family Income 

      FY 2022 Income Limit Category 

      Persons in Family


      1             2              3               4                 5          6          7               8


      Chapel Hill

      NC HUD

      Metro FMR 




      Extremely Low (30%) Income Limits ($)


      Very Low (50%) Income Limits ($)


      Low (80%) Income Limits ($)



      20,100   22,950,  25,800    28,650    32,470   37,190  41,910   46,630




      33,450    38,200  43,000   47,750   51,600    55,400   59,250   63,050



      53,500   61,150  68,800    76,400   82,550    88,650   94,750 100,850

Affordable Housing Statistics

Fair Market Rents (FMRs), regularly published by HUD, represent the cost to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market. To rent a 2-bedroom apartment at FMR in Orange County, the occupant would need to make $25.29/hour. North Carolina's miimum wage is $7.25/hour.

Orange County
North Carolina (statewide)
Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a 2-bedroom apartment 
Income Needed to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at FMR
($25.29 per hour)
($19.18 per hour)

Sources: National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2023  & North Carolina Housing Coalition, 2023

Impacts of Affordable Housing

The briefs below from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency use the latest research to show how housing affordability benefits individuals and communities beyond just providing shelter:

Funding for Affordable Housing 

Funding SourceAdministered By
Federal SourcesLow Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)N.C. Housing Finance Agency
HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)Orange County (HOME Consortium)
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)Town of Chapel Hill
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) ProgramOrange County
Continuum of Care (CoC) Orange County (Partnership to End Homelessness)
State SourcesN.C. Housing Trust FundN.C. Housing Finance Agency
Local SourcesEmergency Housing Assistance (EHA) FundOrange County
Outside Agency/Human Services FundingOrange County, Town of Carrboro, Town of Chapel Hill
Orange County Affordable Housing BondOrange County
Carrboro Affordable Housing FundTown of Carrboro
Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Development ReserveTown of Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill Affordable Housing FundTown of Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill Affordable Housing BondTown of Chapel Hill