Buying and renting houses is becoming more and more difficult every day. Thanks to an economy that is constantly going through inflation. Not only does the economy go through inflation, but also an increased demand for housing. That’s why it’s no surprise many people haven’t been able to afford rent where they live. This is where federal housing assistance programs step in.
Who’s Responsible For Providing Housing Assistance?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a variety of different housing assistance programs. However, states are the ones that administer and manage the programs. A great place to find information on housing assistance programs is your local Public Housing Authority (PHA). In those offices, you can ask about available housing assistance programs for your area. Not only that, but you can check your eligibility!
Popular Housing Assistance Programs
HUD offers a wide variety of housing assistance programs. However, each program comes with its own set of benefits and eligibility criteria. Let’s take a look at each option and what it offers.
Firstly, we will talk about public housing. Public housing is government-subsidized housing that can come in different forms. It focuses on providing low-income individuals and families with affordable housing. In addition, housing can come in the form of apartments, townhouses, etc.
For example, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, public housing “helps families afford housing and avoid homelessness or other kinds of housing instability. Some developments provide access to neighborhoods with well-resourced schools and more job opportunities, where it might otherwise be difficult for low-income families to rent homes. Public housing helps families save on housing and have more for other expenses like food, health-related services, child care, and transportation. Also, public housing can allow older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their home communities.”
Who’s Eligible For Public Housing?
To get this housing assistance opportunity a household must be a US citizen or have an eligible immigration status. Also, applicants must be of “very low-income” status. Which means, a household must meet income requirements based on the area’s median income (AMI).
How Does The Program Work?
Housing agencies will work with PHAs to help applicants find public housing that fits their circumstances, including income and family size, as well as the cities they want to live in. Usually, public housing tenants will pay 30% of their income towards rent and the government would cover the rest of it.
How To Apply?
You can begin the application process at your local PHA. Subsequently, they will provide the details you need about the program in your area. This includes eligibility requirements!
Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8 Housing)
This housing assistance program is a great opportunity for families who are looking to move into decent, safe, and sanitary homes. Section 8 Housing is not limited to public housing projects! Successful recipients of Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) will have a lot more flexibility of choice regarding the housing they can get.
How Can I Be Eligible For Housing Choice Vouchers?
Likewise, Section 8 Housing has similar eligibility requirements as public housing. Applicants must be US citizens or eligible immigrants. Households applying for the program must be low-income. However, applicants must contact their local PHAs to identify any other qualifying criteria. It is important to keep in mind that qualifications might differ from one PHA to the other.
How Do Housing Choice Vouchers Work?
As mentioned before, the process starts with the applicants contacting their local PHAs. After identifying your qualifications, you should start preparing your documents. Above all, those documents generally include the following:
- Birth certificates for all family members
- Social Security cards for all family members
- Driver’s license
- State or alternate government-issued photo ID
- Passports for registered alien/immigrant family members, along with immigration papers and signed verification of immigrant status
- Social Security Verification Letter and Proof of Benefits
- Proof of income (receipts, tax returns, W2)
- Bank statements
- Documentation of public assistance benefits
- Information on any owned asset
- Applicants must pass a criminal background check
What You Should Keep In Mind When Applying For Housing Choice Vouchers
It’s important to keep in mind that there is high demand for this program. Waitlists typically range from 6 to 24 months.
In addition, you will be expected to follow several rules after acquiring this voucher for housing assistance which includes:
- Any illegal activity taking place within your Section 8 housing may lead to eviction
- Public House Authority will be doing regular inspections, to make sure the house is up to the pre-approved standards of living
- Housing Voucher holders must live in the assigned home
- You need to pay rent on time
- Report any changes of family status to your local PHA
- Report any changes of income to your local PHA
- Your local PHA must approve any additional roommates
- Security deposits paid for the lease are solely the responsibility of the tenant
Supportive housing is housing assistance provided by the federal government. It can support low-income households where a member of the family (or the individual) has a disability. This includes physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and chronic mental illnesses. Moreover, there are housing assistance opportunities for the elderly, who are 62 years old or above. So let’s explore both options!
Supportive housing for the elderly
Supportive housing for the elderly (Section 202) is a program created by HUD. It can help low-income elderly individuals. In order to qualify, individuals must be above the age of 61. The program also focuses on providing the elderly with the ability to live independently. In addition, this includes providing services to make their lives easier. These services include cooking, cleaning, healthcare, etc. To find out more about the program, visit this webpage, and learn more.
Permanent Supportive Housing
Another type of supportive housing can help low-income families that include at least one member with a disability and are at risk of homelessness. HUD defines disability as physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and chronic mental illnesses.
In addition, this housing option aims to eliminate homelessness by supporting qualifying low-income families. It can provide them with housing assistance, as well as other services. These services aim to help recipients maintain a stable standard of living. Contact your local PHA for more information on the program.
Housing Loan Assistance Opportunities
The government also created several loan assistance programs that can help qualifying families. These loans can help people find their forever homes that work within their budget.
Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program
This housing assistance program, also known as Section 502 “assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment for a short time. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income.”
As a result, loans from this program can go towards homes that fit the following criteria:
- 2,000 square feet or less
- Meets loan limit requirements
- Does not have in-ground swimming pools
- Is not be used for income-producing activities
Rural Rental Housing Loans
These loans are “direct, competitive mortgage loans made to provide affordable multifamily rental housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families, elderly persons, and persons with disabilities” according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
And, to qualify for this housing assistance loan you can be in one of the following categories:
- Limited partnerships
- For-profit corporations
- Nonprofit organizations
- Limited equity cooperatives
- Native American tribes
- Public agencies
But, borrowers, through this program, must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere that will allow them to charge rents affordable to eligible tenants.
Farm Labor Housing Loans
This housing assistance loan program can help finance the development of housing for domestic farm laborers. The idea is to finance eligible candidates so they can buy, build, improve, or repair housing for farm laborers. In addition, these farms may include those that operate in aquaculture (fish and oyster farms) and those engaged in on-farm processing.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, many individuals and families are currently struggling to find stable, safe, and sanitary homes. Therefore, many federal programs are willing to assist you in finding your next home. That is to say, they can help you get back on your feet and plan for the future. In short, there are housing assistance programs that can help you get affordable housing. Always make sure to check with your local PHA to find the latest information from HUD.