One of the most stressful things to deal with is an overpriced cost of living. It can be a great burden on a household or individual if they don’t have affordable housing. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), affordable housing means that a resident should be paying a maximum of 30% of their income on housing expenses. Sadly, many families and individuals suffer from dealing with expensive housing. This forces them to spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs, which makes them cost-burdened. However, housing aid options are available to help those who are facing tough financial situations.
Common Assistance Options for Housing Support
Unfortunately, some people can find themselves burdened with paying expensive costs when it comes to housing. In this case, they need to find help to boost their living situation. People can apply to assistance programs that have been created to help qualifying U.S. citizens. These programs can provide applicants with housing aid.
Common Housing Programs
Housing programs can be found at the federal, local, and state levels. There are many of them. What do these programs do? Simply put, they provide housing aid and much-needed help for qualifying recipients.
Public housing provides places to live to those who need it. The main form of housing offered is usually apartment complexes. They can also provide private houses or duplex homes. Moreover, these complexes are funded by the HUD. However, your local public housing authority (PHA) manages the complexes. If you are looking to get help in the form of public housing, here is what you need to do:
- Contact your local PHA
- Meet your area’s financial qualifying criteria
- Be a citizen or provide proof of eligible immigration status
- Pass a background check (you may need to provide references)
Nowadays, there are 1.3 million recipients living in public housing properties. However, there is still a large number of applicants who need help from the program. Sadly, the number of housing opportunities is less than the number of applicants in search of housing. This is the reason why there is an ongoing affordable housing crisis. You may find yourself being placed on a waiting list when you apply for the program.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
Section 8 is one of the most common housing aid opportunities. After an applicant is deemed eligible, they are given housing vouchers. These vouchers can be used for housing expenses at specific properties. Landlords are not obligated by law to accept these vouchers as a form of payment. For this reason, you will need to find a property that accepts housing vouchers in order to benefit from the program. In order to get help from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, you will need to:
- Meet your area’s financial qualification criteria
- Get your landlord to approve your application
- Find a property that is approved for Section 8
Unfortunately, you can be placed on a waiting list which may take a long time. It is best to apply as soon as you can. Keep in mind that the application process is entirely free of charge. This can motivate you to start with your application as quickly as possible.
Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program
A lot of U.S. citizens have trouble dealing with their housing expenses. The elderly are often people who struggle with housing. For this reason, the federal government created the Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program. For elderly citizens with low-income levels who are 62 years old or above, housing assistance is available through this program.
Common Housing Loans for Low-Income Individuals
When it comes to loans for low-income individuals, many programs offer help. Your local public housing authority (PHA) is the first place you should be looking for housing aid. That being said, there are still other assistance options that can be of great help.
Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program
Provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Rural Housing Service (RHS) is an agency that offers assistance. They provide loans that are used for renovating, repairing, or building rural homes for low-income families or individuals. These loans can also be used in the relocation of a home to a rural area. The good thing about these programs is that they do not require any down payment. They also offer subsidized interest rates.
Farm Labor Housing Loans
This loan has been created to help farm laborers with paying for the building, improving, repairing, or buying homes. This program even provides help for farm laborers who work in aqua farming, such as those who own or work at oyster and fish farms. It also includes workers who are involved in on-farm processing. Native American tribes, farm worker associations, non-profit organizations, family farm corporations, and farmers among others are all welcome to apply for this loan.
Apart from governmental programs, charities are also a great source of help when it comes to housing aid options. State and local programs also provide assistance. Typically, one-time assistance funds are provided to eligible recipients by charities. Recipients can use these funds to pay for housing expenses. For example, these can be used for a security deposit. Furthermore, when it comes to state and local programs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Help can be provided in the form of free financial housing counseling, emergency housing, and more. Each area has its own different programs available. For this reason, your local PHA will be your go-to. They will give you more information about all the aid options available at the federal, state, and local levels.
Housing Assistance Applications
Applications may vary from one area to another. You may even be able to apply online in some states. However, there are some areas that only accept applications via mail. Nonetheless, you can find all the information you need to know about applying at your local PHA. Keep in mind that the documents you are required to provide may also be different per your area’s requirements. With that said, here are some of the common documents that are useful to have:
- A copy of your current lease agreement
- Social security number for each member of your household
- Recent pay stubs
- Your driver’s license or state-issued I.D.
- A copy of your recent bank statements
In Case You Don’t Qualify, Here’s What to Do
Unfortunately, some people are not deemed eligible for housing assistance. If you find yourself in this situation, it is good to think of ways to lower your housing expenses. Drastic lifestyle alterations may be required. These can include downsizing your housing arrangement or moving to a cheaper neighborhood.
Downsizing Your Housing Arrangement
In the case of downsizing your housing situation or home, you may need to compromise a lot in order to get results. This means that if you have an extra bedroom at your home, it will be better for you to find a smaller place. If you don’t want to move to a smaller house, then you can consider downsizing your housing situation. This means that you can rent the extra space to someone who will be able to cover some of the housing expenses with you. Once you have someone who splits the bills with you, you will be able to reduce the costs you pay every month.
Moving to a Cheaper Neighborhood
Each neighborhood has different costs. For example, housing costs in some rural towns in Kansas will be significantly cheaper than those in Manhattan, New York. While relocating in your case may not involve such a big difference in distance, looking into cheaper areas will be useful for you. Moreover, when it comes to areas to move to, make sure to check out their school systems if you have children, the commute to work, and other aspects that apply to you.
For those who struggle with housing expenses, there are many helpful options to consider. These include housing loans, housing benefit programs, and other assistance options like grants. Finding a budget-friendly housing option can be incredibly stressful. However, there is no need to feel sad or become frustrated. All you need to do is read, research, and learn about the options available. One of the best places to get information from is your local PHA. Their representatives are ready to help you explore all the available options from the federal, local, and state levels. However, make sure to keep in mind that assistance can be different in each area.