Popular Housing Assistance Options

It can be a burden to deal with overly expensive housing. Affordable housing is defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the tenant paying no more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Housing costs aren’t just the price of rent, but for all housing costs like utilities as well. Unfortunately, a lot of households do not have affordable housing. They end up paying over 30% of their income towards these costs which can lead to people becoming cost burdened. Luckily, there are many housing assistance opportunities available.

Popular Housing Assistance Opportunities

Public Housing

Public housing properties are typically apartment complexes. However, they can also be a series of duplex homes, or a cluster of private houses. In essence, it depends on the area you are in. Furthermore, HUD funds these complexes. However, your local public housing authority (PHA) will manage the complexes. If you want to move into public housing, then you will have to:

  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Pass a background check. (May need references.)
  • Be a citizen or have an eligible immigration status.
  • Get in touch with your local PHA.

Additionally, there are currently 1.3 million households living in public housing. Unfortunately there are still many people who are eligible to receive public housing assistance. Given that, there isn’t enough supply of housing to accommodate for how many people need help. With this in mind, that is why this assistance option generally has long waitlists.

Mixed-Income Housing

There are many forms of housing assistance. Mixed-income housing is another popular option for help. This housing is a type of privately-owned housing. Property management companies or private landlords are the ones who own this type of property. Tax incentives are then offered to these properties. With this intention, these incentives are used to encourage properties to provide affordable housing. If these properties want to receive their tax credit, they must have a specific number of units offered at a reduced rate. The cost of rent for these reduced rate units varies depending on the property. If you are interested in qualifying for mixed income housing you need to:

  • Pass a background check. (May need references.)
  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Meet the landlord’s rental eligibility.

Rent Payment Assistance

Another popular assistance opportunity is rental assistance. A common rental assistance program is the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Most people know this program as, “Section 8”. Tenants receive help with housing costs if approved for this program. Approved recipients receive vouchers to go towards costs of housing. Unfortunately, not all properties approve vouchers. Only properties that accept them as a form of payment are where you can use them. There is no legal obligation for a property to accept these vouchers. If you are interested in section 8 assistance, you must:

  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Find an approved section 8 property.
  • Have the landlord approve your application.

Sadly, this property also has long waitlists so it is important to get on them as soon as possible.

Alternative Options 

Additionally, other common sources of housing assistance opportunities come from charities. Not only charities, but as well as state programs. Usually, charities provide qualifying recipients funds in the form of one-time assistance. These funds will go towards housing costs like a security deposit. State programs have a huge variety of assistance. State assistance can come in numerous forms but may include emergency housing, free financial housing counseling, and more. All programs vary depending on the area you are in. That is why the local PHA is such a useful tool. Your local PHA will be able to provide you information about available assistance opportunities from a local, state, and federal level.

How to Apply

The application is not the same for every area. Some states allow online applications. Comparatively, others only allow mail-in applications. Luckily, your local PHA will provide you all information you need when submitting your application. The documentation you need will vary as well. However, common forms of documentation that people should have handy include:

  • Social security numbers for everyone in the household.
  • Your state-issued I.D. or driver’s license.
  • A copy of your recent bank statements.
  • Recent pay stubs.
  • A copy of your current lease agreement.
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