Unfortunately, some people are unable to stay on top of their bills every month. If you find it challenging to keep up with your housing costs like rent or utilities, you are not the only one with this problem. There may be more hope than you think! This is because when people want to begin their journey toward affordable housing, there are housing support options that can help them out. With this article, we will tell you how you can work towards affordable housing.
The First Stage is Understanding Your Current Budget
You might find it tempting to rush into different support options to help you reach affordable housing. You cannot take advantage of them if you do not understand what affordable housing means for your current budget. The federal government already set a definition of affordable housing. According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), affordable housing means not spending more than 30% of your gross income per month on housing expenses.
To better understand affordable housing, let us provide an example. Let’s say that you earn $14.50 per hour for 40 hours per week at your job. This means that you earn $2,320 per month before taxes. If you were to achieve affordable housing, then your housing costs should not exceed $696 every month. That would be hard to reach, especially when the average price of an apartment in America is $1,701 (as of July 2022).
When families spend more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs, they can find themselves cost-burdened. Unfortunately, cost-burdened families could find it harder to deal with other expenses such as clothes, food, healthcare, and more. This is why it is so important to work towards affordable housing as soon as you can.
Resources That Will Help You Start Towards Affordable Housing
Now that you know what affordable housing means for your financial situation, you can start working on your journey towards affordable housing. There are several places where you can start to look for available support. Three resources that can help you out include:
Your Local Public Housing Authority (PHA)
One of the first areas to begin is at your local Public Housing Authority. Local PHAs are the agencies that are in charge of the administration and management of some HUD programs. They will offer a lot of information about housing support, the application process, and much more. One of the advantages of local PHAs is that the information they offer and the applications do not cost a thing!
While your local PHA is a great resource to begin your journey, this is not the only resource that you could use. Another great resource is the federal website known as benefits.gov. This website has information on more than 1,000 different assistance programs that are available from the government. Since there is a lot of information on this website, they have specific tools that can make it easier for users to navigate through the website.
Users should make the most of the Benefit Finder tool. This tool allows users to fill in their personal details about their situation such as their family size, income level, and so on. Once an individual fills out these details, the tool will look for different support options that could help the situation that the individual is going through. The programs that the Benefit Finder tool offers are probably a good fit for the user. The only way that a person can find out whether they are eligible or not for a federal program is by applying. Additionally, the site will offer information on where people will need to apply and contact information, if applicable. This can help point people in the right direction.
The Benefit Finder tool is a great option, but some people do not want to offer personal details online. For the people who are not interested in filling out their personal details online, they can look for available support options by agency and category. For instance, if an individual knows that they need housing assistance, they can search for available opportunities from the HUD or look for options under Housing and Public Utilities.
Finally, on this list of resources that’s available is this website. This is another great resource to begin your affordable housing journey known as 211.org. This website can offer local assistance information for anyone who reaches out to them. 211.org is an information hub for different assistance options, but they also offer assistance to individuals who need affordable housing. They have offered millions of connections that were able to help decrease or avoid housing insecurity and homelessness to the people who reached out.
Regarding housing support opportunities that your local 211 can offer, there is more help than you might imagine. Your local 211 can assist to look for support options to deal with your housing costs. These housing costs could include rent, utilities, mortgage payments, and much more. If you are thinking about getting in touch, then you will probably need to offer personal details about your housing situation. These details will make it easier for your local 211 to offer a better experience for you through advice that is personalized around your situation.
What Affordable Housing Support Options are Out There?
Now that you are aware of some great resources to look for information or support, you also need to remember that some affordable housing options can help. Some options include:
Other than these options that can particularly help with affordable housing, you will find other federal programs that you can benefit from. Other federal programs might be able to offer help in other aspects of your life, which will allow you to handle your finances better. Some other federal programs that can offer assistance include:
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Lifeline Program
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
When you need affordable housing, it could feel like there is no hope. That is not the case! There are many resources to consider that can offer relief. Affordable housing can take place when a household does not spend more than 30% of their monthly gross income, according to the HUD definition. That amount of money can vary for everyone depending on the amount they earn. If you are interested in starting your journey towards affordable housing, you should start with the following resources:
- Your Local Public Housing Authority (PHA)
Other than the resource mentioned above, some particular affordable housing programs to consider include:
- Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Public Housing
- Supportive Housing
Other than resources and support options, you might be able to take advantage of other federal assistance options that are not relevant to housing costs. They will, however, offer some relief. There is more support than you might imagine; you just need to know where to look!