If you think a grand is 'average' housing cost, then you might want to come join us in the real world Though I do see that you are typing in dollars, so you may be forgiven, considering that it is an entirely different system in an entirely different country that we seem to be talking about.
(The average house price in England has recently been quoted as "Avg. Price £162,606" - http://www.landregis...rices-and-sales - which is a 30 year mortgage of probably around £400-500 per month, if not slightly less. But we must also remember that this statistic does not take into account the vast majority of houses that end up receiving housing benefit - council houses and private rent accommodation - which are more often than not, about 1/2 - 3/4 of that price., with the rent often being between £200-£400, for the most part).
In Scotland the maximum housing benefit is now £230-£240 a month for those under 35 or 36 years old, with those above that age getting maybe £100 a month more, tops. This basically means that the government will not pay your mortgage or even your rent, but it will pay a predetermined amount towards your rent. This is in Scotland, but I don't see things being too different Down South.
A grand and a half is an incredible amount of money for housing benefit. I have never known the government to save people who cannot afford a mortgage. After all, if this is what the government does for its citizens, then why are there people constantly losing their houses?