With the number of COVID-19 victims on the rise and in a tumultuous atmosphere of economic instability, housing, though being a universal human right, has become a privilege exclusive to those who can afford it. But there are those who strive to open the doors for communities who are struggling to find homes that are within their financial reach. Here’s small overview of what you may find useful to get an affordable home:
When in Trouble, Visit the NLIHC
In its commitment to help those in need of having better access to affordable housing, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is perhaps one of the best support networks and references you can use in your struggle finding a home. As an organization, it works to invest resources in assisting those who are on a quest to find their dream home.
As a reference, it is incredibly valuable and is filled with comprehensive explanations of the different form programs, opportunities, and policies that have to do with affordable housing. You even have the option of signing up to receive their regular emails, which will provide you with latest updates and information that could be used for your benefit.
In addition, the NLIHC is highly connected with other similar bodies across the nation, seeking to advocate for affordable housing and providing support to all those who need it.
The NLIHC is involved in a number of important initiatives to help those struggling with low income which includes:
- NLIHC helped create the National Housing Trust Fund, which is a housing initiative that has been in existence since 1974. It was made to assist in building, reviving, and managing affordable rental properties for low-income communities.
- As the leader of the Housing Trust Fund and Policy Group, the NLIHC promotes support for low-come housing in Congress through encouraging tax reform and infrastructure investments.
- The NLIHC also plays a major role in public policy towards persuading officials to preserve and increase funds for federal affordable housing programs, and this support is not just financial.
- Through its work, the NLIHC also seeks to promote social justice and racial equality for people of color, since studies have shown that these communities have suffered the most from evictions and homelessness.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NLIHC also initiated a number of rental assistance programs and there is a complete document about this which you can find here.
- Major donors of the organization include the Ford Foundation, the Melville Charitable Trust, the Oak Foundation, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, Funders for Housing and Opportunity, and the JPB Foundation.
You can also make use of the Rental Housing Database and Renters In Foreclosure Toolkit. It’s important to point that the Renters In Foreclosure Toolkit is particularly useful for those who are being threatened with foreclosure or eviction and it is important for everyone to know their rights as tenants. On the Federal Reserve website, you will also find more information about Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) so that you are more well-informed about your rights and can appropriately respond to any renter who threatens you with foreclosure.
Essentials of Tenant Self-Defense
The law is a tool that you can use to protect yourself from landlords who have treated you unjustly. Sometimes knowing some of your basic rights can help prevent an illegal foreclosure. Here are some basic principles that you should about as a future tenant:
- If the tenant is the trying to evict you, then it must be for one or more of the following reasons: (1) you as a tenant have been involved in illegal activities on the property (2) you damaged the property, (3) you violated the terms of the rent agreement (e.g. missing rent payments)
- It’s important to note landlords do not have the right to refuse to rent a property to a tenant or treat any tenant differently because of race, religion, gender, etc.
As part of the Landlord-Tenant Act, the following is required as well:
- When the property is possessed on a certain, the landlord must agree to give the tenant access to the unit that is allocated for him/her and if the landlord does not cooperate that is a violation.
- The landlord is not permitted entry into the rented unit without prior notice and only be given access if it is an emergency.
- The rented property needs to comply with all housing laws and safety standards as required by law.