how does a housing allowance work and who is eligible?

Any ordained minister (as defined by their denomination or elder board) is considered a “Duel Status employee”.  This basically means that they are considered self-employed AND fully employed by the church. That said, an ordained minister is allowed to consider some of their income as a “housing allowance”.  Historically, some churches offered a parsonage, but those are now fairly few and far between.  For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to assume that this is a standard ordained minister.