We all require a safe, clean place to call home. Nowadays, it is becoming more of a challenge to pay for rent and purchase homes. The increase in prices of homes is leading many families towards financial hardship. In some extreme circumstances, the rising prices could lead some households and people into homelessness. Some individuals might choose to borrow housing loans from private organizations, such as banks. However, they need to be eligible to receive a loan and they could come with a high-interest rate.
Due to the housing issue, the federal government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), created affordable housing options. HUD’s housing assistance comes in different types. Let us focus on some of the most popular federal HUD assistance opportunities available for you.
Target Audience for Housing Assistance Options
As a general rule, to qualify for these assistance programs, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant. You also will need to prove that your income is low compared to your local income median. The main idea behind these programs is to support individuals and families out of poverty and to help provide safe shelter for those who need it.
While every assistance option is different, most of these options focus on helping low and middle-income people and households in the United States.
Different Forms Of Available Housing Assistance Options
Each program will come with its own benefits and eligibility requirements. Some housing assistance options will aim to offer immediate help to individuals that need it. Other housing assistance options will depend on the long-term shelter and well-being of the applicant. Additionally, you need to remember that different states will have different available options. This means that if a housing assistance option operates in New York, then it won’t mean it is also in Oklahoma.
Public housing is one of the most popular types of government housing assistance options. This program offers housing projects that the federal government subsidizes. Public housing often offers homes in the form of apartment complexes. The federal government manages these apartment complexes through local public housing authorities (PHAs). This is to make sure that people and households have good living standards. HUD created public housing as a method to “provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.”
Section 8 housing is a great program where the renter decides on their homes. These homes’ owners must allow Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) as a form of payment.
Let us explain how the HCV program works. The HCV program is an assistance option designed to assist low-income households looking for stable housing. When HCV tenants find a qualifying home, the government will help them afford it and pay a part of it. This means that your local PHA will offer the vouchers that are responsible for covering the applicant’s rent to the landlord. The HUD funds the program and the local PHA manages and administers the support for the program.
The process begins with applying at your local public housing authority (PHA). You should reach out to your local PHA for more information on any housing assistance options. You will find that your local PHA will be your most reliable resource. Other than applying and offering the necessary documents, you will need to look for housing that allows housing choice vouchers. Additionally, you should remember that different PHAs may have different eligibility conditions.
Eligibility Requirements for Section 8 Housing:
- Applicants need to be United States citizens or qualifying immigrants.
- There will be a necessary criminal background check. Applicants must not have a criminal record or history of criminal drug-related activity, especially in the three years before they applied for the HCV program.
- Applicants must present evidence to prove that they are eligible for low-income status. An applicant’s income must not be higher than 50% of their area’s income median.
One thing you should remember when it comes to Section 8 Housing is that there is typically a long waitlist to receive your housing choice vouchers. Typically, PHAs will aim on helping seniors, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and those who need the help the most. Here is some advice on how to climb up the waiting list:
- Be extremely low-income
- Prove that you are homeless or stay in a shelter
- Have a disability
- Be a senior
- Be a veteran
Supportive housing is not an available opportunity that the HUD offers, but it is still a type of housing option to think about. There are four popular types of supportive housing, which are:
- Emergency Shelters
- Transitional Shelters
- Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
When people need immediate assistance, they should consider turning to an emergency shelter. These shelters focus on providing assistance to help households when they go through a crisis. Emergency shelters can offer support services to provide some short-term stability for those who need it. Every emergency shelter is different, so this means how long a person can stay in these shelters will differ.
Transitional shelters focus on offering a longer-term temporary shelter for people who are facing housing struggles. People can stay in these shelters for six months to 24 months. The main goal of transitional shelters is to provide assistance to those who are going through homelessness. Typically, these shelters provide supportive services that can help individuals in healthcare, finding a job, and more.
Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
Sometimes, there are circumstances where people need housing as soon as possible. This is why Rapid Re-Housing is a good supportive housing opportunity to think about. Rapid Re-Housing is a form of “housing first solution.” This solution focuses on helping people that do not typically go through homelessness or non-chronic homelessness. Rapid Re-Housing offers benefits that include the ability for people to rent a housing unit independently at an affordable rate and receive support services at the same time.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
Most shelters will offer short-term shelters, but there are other housing solutions that aim to help in the long term. Permanent supportive housing is a solution established under the Continuum of Care (CoC). PSH focuses on offering low-income households with homes that have affordable rental rates. What makes PSH so special from other types of housing is that it focuses on helping people with disabilities. PSH will aim on helping households that include one member with a disability.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines the term “disabled” as an individual who is diagnosed with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The terms could also include those who suffer from chronic mental illnesses. Since PSH aims on assisting people with disabilities, it will offer both affordable housing and supportive services. These supportive services work to make life easier for people with disabilities and the rest of their families. The list of services that PSH could provide these families includes:
- Outreach services
- Substance abuse treatment services
- Yearly Assessment of Services
- Moving expenses
- Case management
- Education services
- Job assistance and job training
- Food and groceries
- Utility deposits
- Housing search and counseling services
- Legal services
- Life skills training
- Mental health services
- Outpatient health services
The Bottom Line
Finding a place to live is a priority for everyone. You should find a place to live that is safe and clean. There are many federal programs out there that can help your housing situation. Make sure that you spend the time and ask around for information on available housing assistance opportunities from the HUD and other entities.