Affordable housing options to get you back on track
Housing costs are only one of the many issues low-income American has to deal with every day, and with the rising cost of living, housing costs have become much more of a burden on those experiencing financial troubles.
This is why affordable housing is now more important than ever before, and you should know that if you’re struggling to find a housing option that fits your budget, you’re not alone, as thousands of others are going through the same thing.
Thankfully, the federal government has created programs with people like this in mind, and they can help you get back on track by providing you with an affordable housing option for as long as you need it.
With the housing market in a state of chaos, finding a housing situation that’s suited to your budget is extremely difficult, and we’ve put together a list of some of the best government-financed programs for affordable housing.
What is affordable housing?
The word “affordable” can mean very different things based on who you’re asking, but there is a definition for it, at least in terms of housing opportunities.
If a household is spending more than 30% of its income on housing costs, they’re considered to be burdened by that expense, meaning that its current housing option is far from affordable.
This expense also includes utilities, and you’ll want to carefully examine your housing costs before committing to some of these government programs, as your current option may already be affordable without you even knowing it.
On the other hand, if you’re actually cost-burdened, you may have already felt it on your budget, as cost-burdened households have a hard time covering their other expenses such as food, hospital bills, and education.
Understanding your financial situation is key if you want to begin your search for affordable housing, and we’re going to lead the way.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
Commonly known as Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded by the government and provides assistance in the form of vouchers to qualifying individuals and households.
These vouchers can then be used to cover a household’s housing expenses to a certain degree, allowing them to spend only 30% of their gross monthly income on housing costs.
It’s important to note that these vouchers can only be used with participating landlords, which must regularly pass an inspection carried out by the local PHA office.
Even though the program itself is provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it’s managed at a local level by the Public Housing Authority, which also determines the eligibility requirements for both applicants and properties in their area of jurisdiction.
Overall, the PHA will look into a number of things when reviewing your application, including your income level, family status, eviction history if applicable, and current citizenship status.
Apart from Section 8, the Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers public housing as yet another affordable housing opportunity for low-income Americans.
With public housing, qualifying families can gain access to housing at a rent they can afford, meaning that the rent will be adjusted to their income level.
Similar to Section 8, the program is managed by Local Housing agencies at a local level, which then distributes the units that are part of the program to those in need.
Generally, eligibility for this program will vary based on where you’re applying from, although the main factors that the HA will take into consideration are your annual gross income, references if any apply, and your citizenship status.
You should note that even if you do qualify for a public housing unit, the housing agency can deny your application if your references are unfit for their standards.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with contacting your local HA, you can also apply for public housing through the HUD Field Office in your area.
Even though this doesn’t exactly qualify as a federal housing assistance option, it may still be worth looking into if you’re desperate for housing right away.
Supportive housing options include emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing, and transitional shelters, each with its own purpose, eligibility requirements, and perks.
Emergency shelters are great for families in immediate need of housing, as they provide short-term stability that a family/household may need to get back on their feet.
People staying in emergency shelters can shift their focus to finding a long-term housing option rather than worrying about finding a roof over their heads for the time being, and the length of time one can spend in these shelters will vary from one location to the other.
Permanent supportive housing, on the other hand, is a housing assistance option aimed at those dealing with chronic homelessness, which applies to persons who spent at least 1 year living in places not meant for human habitation, stayed in emergency shelters for at least one year, or lived in institutional care facilities for no longer than 90 days.