Everyone needs a safe and clean place to live. In this day and age, it is becoming more and more of a challenge to afford rent and mortgages. The rise in prices in real estate is making families face financial struggles. In some cases, the increase in prices could lead to households and individuals reaching homelessness. Some individuals could resort to housing loans from private lenders, but only if they are eligible for them. The main concern with these loans is that they can come with a high-interest rate.
The federal government, under the direct supervision of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), created various affordable housing assistance options. HUD’s housing assistance has several offers to choose from. You can be able to find different forms of housing assistance programs that could help out your current housing situation. These vouchers will give low-income households the choice to pick any qualifying property to live in. This article will take a look at some of the most popular federal housing options.
Who are These Housing Assistance Options Meant to Help?
Every housing assistance program is different, but most of them are geared toward helping low and moderate-income households and individuals across the United States. In general, to be eligible for these federal housing programs, you will need to be either an American citizen or a qualifying immigrant. Additionally, you will need to be able to provide evidence that your income level is lower than your local income median.
What are the Different Types of Available Housing Assistance Options?
Each housing program comes with its benefits and eligibility requirements. Some housing assistance options highlight offering immediate help to people who need housing. Other housing assistance options will concentrate on long-term shelter options and the applicant’s wellbeing. Different states will have different options available. For instance, a housing assistance program in New York might not exist in Oklahoma.
This is one of the most common types of federal housing assistance programs. Public housing is a program that offers housing projects that the federal government subsidizes. Often, public housing shows up in the form of apartment complexes. The federal government manages these housing units through local public housing authorities (PHAs). This is to make sure that the recipients have a good standard of living. The HUD created public housing to “provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.”
Section 8 Housing/Housing Choice Vouchers
Section 8 housing is a popular housing program where people get to choose their own home with housing choice vouchers (HCV).
HCV is a program that is designed to help low-income households afford good, clean homes. HCV recipients must choose a qualifying property, which can be anywhere that a landlord accepts these vouchers as a form of payment. Through federal funding, PHAs will pay landlords a portion of the rent through the vouchers of the receiving family. The difference is what that family has to pay.
Eligibility Requirements for Section 8 Housing:
- People who apply need to be American citizens or qualifying immigrants.
- The program will perform a criminal background check, as required. People should not have criminal records for drug-related charges, especially within three years before applying for the HCV program.
- People must show evidence that they are eligible for low-income status, where their income should not be more than 50% of their local income median.
Section 8 housing typically has a long waitlist. PHAs will likely aim to first help seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and those who need the most help. Here are ways how to climb up the waiting list:
- Have a severely low-income
- Be homeless or live in a shelter
- Have a disability
- Be at least 62 years old or older
- Be a Veteran
Although this type of housing assistance is not necessarily provided through the HUD, it is still a type of housing support to consider. Four common types of supportive housing include:
- Emergency Shelters
- Transitional Shelters
- Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
When individuals urgently need assistance, they should consider turning to an emergency shelter. These shelters focus on helping households when they are faced with a crisis. Emergency shelters can offer support services to provide some security in the short term. Each emergency shelter is different which means how long a person or family can stay in these shelters will differ.
Transitional shelters focus on offering longer-term temporary housing for people who are financially struggling. People are able to stay in this housing for six to 24 months. The focus of these shelters is to provide assistance to individuals that are dealing with homelessness and that need help with employment.
Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
Sometimes, people require housing as soon as possible, which is why RRH is a great supportive housing opportunity to consider. This is a form of “housing first solution.” It focuses on assisting people that do not generally deal with homelessness, which is also referred to as non-chronic homelessness. Some of the benefits that are associated with RRH include having the ability to rent a housing unit on their own at an affordable rate while receiving support services.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
Most shelters focus on offering short-term support, but we are now going to talk about longer-term solutions. PSH is a solution designed under the Continuum of Care (CoC). PSH focuses on offering low-income households with housing that charge low rent. What distinguishes PSH from any other form of housing is that it focuses on supporting individuals with disabilities. PSH will aim to provide support to families that have at least one member with a disability.
The HUD defines the term “disabled” as a person who is suffering from physical and/or developmental disabilities. The term also includes individuals who suffer from chronic mental illnesses. Since PSH aims to help individuals with disabilities, it will offer both affordable housing and supportive services. These supportive services focus on easing and helping the progress of the life of these individuals and their households. Here’s a list of the services PSH may be able to provide to these families:
- Housing search and counseling services
- Legal services
- Life skills training
- Annual Assessment of Services
- Moving costs
- Case management
- Mental health services
- Outpatient health services
- Education services
- Employment assistance and job training
- Outreach services
- Substance abuse treatment services
- Utility deposits
The Bottom Line
Having a place to stay is a priority, however, living somewhere safe and hygienic should be the most important. There are several governmental programs out there to help you out of your current housing situation. Most of these housing assistance programs aim to help out low-income households and individuals get out of a tight spot. You can find different housing assistance options that could help you get back on your feet, including supportive housing, Section 8 Housing Program, and Public Housing. As an example, Section 8 housing can provide housing vouchers to recipients to use towards affordable housing. As a recipient, you will be responsible for paying 30% of your rent and the rest will be paid through the housing voucher.
In order to find the right housing assistance option, you will need to spend the time to do your research, so you can find your dream home. But, do not stress yourself out. You can find a housing assistance opportunity that will help you out.