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 2023

      Income Limit Area

      Median Family Income 

      FY 2023 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 ($)



      21,250    24,300    27,350     30,350      35,250       40,280     45,420     50,560




      35,400     40,450    45,500     50,550      54,600      58,360      62,700     66,750



      56,650    64,750      72,850     80,900      87,400      93,850      100,350    106,800   

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