You should not lose hope when there are so many housing assistance options out there. But, unfortunately, some people may feel daunted by the task of applying for any type of federal assistance program. With the bureaucracy that the federal government is notorious for, they should be. Nonetheless, we will show you how you can apply for federal and public housing assistance without any hassle. That way, things can go smoothly, quick, and carefree. (You should be the right amount of worried. Not too much and not too little.)
There is something about staying in a tight spot for a long time that makes you want to give up. It makes sense, but you should not surrender to rock bottom. There are ways for you to get out of your tight spot; the government created programs to help you out. You can look through different resource tools to find what government benefit programs are available.
However, before we start giving you an overview of housing assistance programs, you should know what they are first. (Slow and steady wins the race, or gets you accepted.) Through this article, you will find out what housing assistance programs are, the different types, and how they work. By understanding this, you will be able to apply accordingly, based on your financial situation and needs.
What are Housing Assistance Programs?
Housing Assistance Programs are government benefit programs, where the Housing and Urban Development provide financial assistance to low-income families. Low-income families receive financial assistance to afford housing units. There are two types of rental housing assistance available; it comes in the form of two models. The two models are: project-based assistance, or tenant-based assistance.
The Housing and Urban Development design Housing Assistance Programs that local or state governmental agencies distribute. This includes Public Housing Authorities or PHAs. (Whatever the HUD creates, the PHA implements, and you reap the benefits.) Each government program has a certain set of conditions, since not everyone can be eligible.
As an example, the most common housing assistance program is the Section 8 Program. The Section 8 Program requires certain criteria in four different aspects. Your citizenship, eviction history, income level, and family size determines your eligibility. (If you fit the criteria, then you receive a check and a new home.)
Types of Housing Assistance Programs
There are two types of models for housing assistance programs: project-based assistance and tenant-based assistance. Project-based assistance is when the Program assigns rental funds to a specific housing unit. Most project-based assistance are designed to help low-income families.
As for tenant-based assistance, you will find that you can use a rental subsidy for any household that qualifies for housing in a certain community. This means that the housing unit can be private housing units that are created for accepting low-income tenants. But, that is only if the quality of the unit and its cost qualify for the Program.
The difference between both types of models is that project-based assistance specifies the housing unit. But, tenant-based assistance allows any housing unit that fits the criteria, no matter where.
Private Real Estate That’s Subsidized
Yes, you read that title correctly. (This is not a prank; there are no hidden cameras.) There are things in the private sector that the government will agree to subsidize for you. Some privately owned residential properties do offer subsidized housing for low-income families. But, there are certain conditions that you have to do. In return for the subsidy, the government compensates the property owner for the difference. To qualify for this form of assistance, you will need to meet the property owner’s rent requirements. You will also need to pass a criminal background check, and have a monthly income that is less than the maximum (as per location).
Simply put, you have the option of receiving financial assistance from privately-owned residential properties, as long as you fit the criteria that the owner applies. But, you will need to follow the rules down to a “t” with private subsidies. (This is between you and the private owner. May the odds be ever in your favor.)
Vouchers for Victory
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (also called Section 8 Assistance) seeks to offer assistance to low-income individuals through offering them vouchers. What it allows recipients to do is pay only 30% of the house expense and then the voucher will cover the remaining 70% (exact amount is determined on a case-by-case basis). You will need to wait a while, since the Section 8 Program is one of the most popular housing assistance programs. But, it will be worth the wait, since you will only pay a small amount.
Below we’ll give you a brief summary of the entire application process:
Complete Your Application
Acquire an application either online or at your local public housing authority and begin the application. You will find all the details in the application and you should fill in everything as truthfully as possible.You should be as transparent as possible; there is no use in hiding your current situation. The Section 8 Program gives priority to the neediest individuals and families. So, there is no need to be ashamed of where you stand.
Getting Placed on the Waiting List
After the application process, you will be put on a waiting list. It depends on the financial shape that you are in. You may end up waiting 1 or 2 years until those responsible for the Section 8 program get back to you. The best thing to do is to apply to as many waiting lists as possible to increase your chances of getting a faster response. You will not be disqualified if you apply to multiple waiting lists; you will only catch their eye faster.
Those involved in evaluating your application will get back to you to proceed with the application process further. You can be accepted or rejected. There is a possibility that the Program might reject you, if you do not meet the requirements of the program. If you are not eligible for this housing assistance program, that is okay too. There are many other alternatives.
There are programs where the federal government subsidizes rental properties, you will probably find them in your research. These rental properties help out those in need of affordable housing. Qualifying for this generous welfare package requires that you are a US citizen or a legal resident. You must personally meet with a PHA agent (physical presence required), you must satisfy the low-income conditions, and you must check out on a criminal background check. With public housing, the eligibility requirements are not as precise as other housing programs. Since it is available for the public (obviously), you have a big chance of getting in.
Recommendations for Applying to Housing Assistance Programs
The federal government offers a wide variety of different programs for you to choose from, all of which have a different set of requirements. These requirements are tailor-made to help low-income families and individuals. (You shouldn’t be too worried, there are no right or wrong answers. You only need to speak your truth and nothing more.) There are a number of suggestions that you should take into consideration when applying to them.
Do Your Own Research (Google is Your New Best Friend)
Everybody’s situation is different, and you’ll find that not every single affordable housing program is going to help you through your own individual situation. You need to get a deeper understanding of the different programs that are out there. Are these programs offered by the government itself or by the non-profit organizations, who are trying to assist their own local communities? Be sure to go meet with a professional from your local PHA (Public Housing Authority).
Laziness is a disease, and everyone is contagious. However, if you are serious about getting help, you have to put the work in. Nothing ever comes easy, is a cliche for a reason. It is near-impossible for you to be aware of every available benefits program. (This is not something you find on your Instagram feed.) It would be best that you do your own research, instead of eavesdropping on your neighbors. If you are scrambling, then we suggest you talk to a government official. (Someone who knows what they are talking about, unlike you, Linda.)
Plan Ahead (Staying Ahead is Better Than Falling Behind)
Develop a plan and set a timeline with daily goals. Think of what programs you want to apply to, how much effort is it going to take to apply to them, and what you need to apply to these particular programs in terms of paperwork. Do you and your family meet the eligibility requirements of each program? By planning ahead, you can apply for any program that you are eligible for.
The researching part of this process might be boring, but it is quite effective. Instead of running back and forth, you can stay organized and less scatter-brained. Because of your impeccable ability to plan ahead, you will be able to stay up-to-date with all the benefits programs. You will also be prepared with any and all paperwork that they ask from you.
Complete Your Applications Thoroughly (Double and Triple Check It!)
The people who work at government organizations are very wary of those who try to provide false information. There are people who do that to reap benefits that they are not entitled to. (The night is long and full of terrors.) Don’t pull a fast one while filling the forms to apply to these house assistance programs. The Program will catch on to what you are doing and automatically disqualify you.
As tempting as it sounds for you to tell a white lie, don’t. (You would think that you didn’t actually have to tell someone this particular fact, but it might surprise you.) Once you add false information to your application, the Program will investigate further. And, once they catch on, you are out. You should also keep in mind that the Program blacklists disqualified applicants from the Program and other benefit programs. (As opposed to Nike’s slogan, just don’t do it.)
Have a Backup Plan (And a Back-Backup Plan, If You Can)
You need to prepare yourself for a day when nothing may work out or it may take a very long time for things to work out. Leave yourself time to adapt a sort of emergency plan. You might find that the apartment you are currently living in is too expensive. In that case, maybe it might be a good time to move back in with your parents, if they live close to you. Maybe you can get some good deals on properties on Craig’s List or on Airbnb. There are many different alternatives out there.
Once you find that you are financially struggling because of the high rental prices, it might be time to look elsewhere. It is not ideal, of course. The place you are currently living in might have a special place in your heart. But, here the cons outweigh the pros. (It makes no sense for you to stay in an apartment because you have many memories there. It will not matter how attached you are, if you are splitting a loaf of bread for the next two days.)
With housing assistance programs, you will be able to access affordable housing units in a safe neighborhood. Housing assistance programs are government benefit programs that aim to help low-income families and individuals. (Living is expensive these days and everyone is struggling; you are literally not alone.) These housing assistance programs come in two models: project-based assistance and tenant-based assistance.
In order to stay prepared for the application process, you should follow these four (very practical) pieces of advice. You need to do your own research and use official sources. This is to make sure that you get lost in all the white noise and end up with false facts. Planning ahead is an important tip to keep in mind. By planning ahead, you will not be blindsided by a sudden deadline. Completing your application is a no-brainer, but you should complete your application and stay as truthful as possible. Once you are caught, you will be disqualified. (In football terms, you get the red card.) Finally, make sure you have a backup plan. Don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket; the world is cruel and someone will drop your basket. Make sure that you have another basket nearby.