To be able to afford their rent payments, many people have had to reduce their monthly spending. This is true for larger families in particular. The bigger the household, the more likely it is for them to struggle with paying rent. That’s why there are a lot of people who could benefit from housing assistance, and luckily, the government may be able to offer them just that. However, there is a catch: only those who qualify will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. So who is housing assistance available for? This article will take a closer look.
Housing Assistance Options Worth Considering
The struggle to afford housing rent is actually more common than people realize. Essentially, a home is considered affordable if the renter spends no more than 30% of how much they make on housing expenses. That’s according to the definition of affordable housing provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, this is almost never the case, and most people pay more than 30% of their salary for housing. The fact that people pay more than they can afford could eventually leave them financially stressed because they live paycheck to paycheck. That said, if someone is struggling with excessive housing
Housing Programs to Consider
expenses, it’s time for them to consider other options to make things better. Luckily, at the federal, state, and local levels, a number of housing programs are available, and we will highlight a few of them:
- The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
- Public Housing
- Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
There are many great things about the housing choice voucher program, which is also known as Section 8. For one, applying for the program is completely free! This encourages more people to try their luck seeking assistance without fear of losing the application fee. Yes, sometimes there are lengthy waitlists for this aid, but that isn’t unusual for assistance programs. So how can Section 8 help people? If someone receives approval for this aid opportunity, they will get a voucher that can be applied to housing expenses. This sounds easy, and it is, but there is a tricky part before people can claim their vouchers. Basically, in order to be eligible to take advantage of this program, people must meet the financial requirements in their location. Then, if an applicant is accepted, they must select an approved Section 8 property that recognizes the vouchers as a payment method. Once this is all done, the applicant must have their application approved by the landlord. Landlords have every right to reject voucher payments. That’s because no law mandates that properties must accept this method of payment.
Public housing is a great housing assistance option and has been able to help many people. In fact, 1.3 million households are living in public housing as of now. When it comes to public housing, the HUD is responsible for the financial part, but the local public housing authority (PHA) will supervise the residences. So for people who want to relocate to public housing, what are the steps? Anybody interested in this opportunity should contact their local PHA, meet the financial requirements in their location, and successfully pass a background check. Furthermore, an applicant must either have a valid immigration status or be a citizen of the United States. Having said that, Public Housing has been able to improve so many people’s lives, and many people want to take advantage of it. Therefore, there are typically long waitlists for this aid option.
Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program
The program’s name, Supportive Housing for the Elderly, says it all. This is a federal program that can help the elderly with housing expenses. With that said, in this program, a person must be the following to be considered:
- Low income
- 62 years old or older
These are the basic requirements of the program; there may be more conditions that people have to meet. Additionally, not every low-income person is eligible. The program will prioritize the most vulnerable applicants. That’s why a person has to have a low income to be considered for this opportunity.
Housing Loans for People with Low Income
Being a homeowner for many is linked to the American dream. Nevertheless, people who are financially stressed due to their low incomes may feel that homeownership is impossible for them. That’s not true because there are housing loans that might offer simple funding options. People looking for housing programs should check with their local public housing authority (PHA). Those looking for funding opportunities should look into the following loans:
- Farm Labor Housing Loans
- Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program
Farm Labor Housing Loans
Let’s first talk about who is able to take advantage of this loan, and that includes:
- Farm Laborers
- Farmer groups
- Family farm businesses
- Native American tribes
Like any assistance opportunity, people must first meet the qualifying requirements to be able to benefit. That’s why it’s always a good idea for people to check first if they’re eligible for the type of assistance they’re seeking. This type of loan was created especially for farm laborers so that they could use the money for housing-related costs like:
- Renovation or repair
Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program
When it comes to this loan option, there are a few advantages, including:
- Reduced interest rates
- No down payment is needed.
Those that are able to obtain assistance from this program will be provided with loans for home construction, repair, or renovation in rural areas. Of course, there will be eligibility requirements that they have to meet first, and that includes the family having a low income and urgently needing assistance. That said, people can even move a mobile or manufactured home to a rural area with the loan money. So who offers this assistance opportunity? This option is offered by the Rural Housing Service (RHS) and is also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program. Essentially, RHS is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What Can People Who Are Not Eligible Do?
Housing aid may help improve some people’s living situations, but it’s not available to everyone. There are so many factors that determine who receives assistance. What is certain is that the priority will go to people who are low income and need the most help! This doesn’t mean that people who are not eligible for housing aid have a hopeless situation. People who want to reduce their housing expenses could try:
- Moving to a less costly place or neighborhood
- Finding a roommate to split the housing costs with
- Reducing their home sizes
The first thing that those looking for housing assistance should do is contact their local PHA. That’s because the programs, qualification requirements, and even the method of applying may change based on the location. While some states only accept applications sent by mail, others accept applications submitted online. Additionally, not all options will work for the same group of people. That is why those seeking aid should do their research and check the programs they may be eligible for. The good news is that people looking for housing aid will find it at the federal, state, and local levels!