It’s easy for households to find themselves eating away at their savings due to their housing expenses. This can happen to many of us for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, in most states, there aren’t any laws preventing a landlord from raising the rent with each new lease contract. Furthermore, sudden job loss can change a household’s financial situation in the blink of an eye.
Well Known Housing Programs
If you find yourself in a situation where you are spending too much on housing costs, there are options that may be able to help. The HUD provides a variety of housing assistance programs that help in different ways.
There are 1.3 million households occupying public housing. Yet, even with that large number, there are still plenty of families that need help. There is a national crisis when it comes to affordable housing. Housing costs have skyrocketed, and there aren’t enough affordable housing units for everyone who needs them. When people think of public housing, apartment buildings are typically the first thing that comes to mind. However, public housing comes in all types! Depending on the area, public housing can be duplexes or even a neighborhood of private homes.
Public housing authorities (PHAs) are in charge of managing this program and its recipients. Meanwhile, the funding comes from HUD. If you want to benefit from public housing, you need to contact your local PHA and meet a series of requirements. Keep in mind that, because of the shortage of housing, you can expect to be placed on a waiting list before you are offered housing. Some requirements include:
- Pass a background check with references
- Be a U.S. Citizen or have a qualifying immigration status
- Meet the income requirements in your area
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
The Housing Choice Voucher program, also referred to as Section 8, is a great option for someone who needs housing assistance but wants the freedom to decide where to live. This is possible with Section 8 because recipients are able to find their own rental in the private market. In order to offer assistance with housing costs, Section 8 provides its recipients with vouchers. These vouchers go towards the cost of rent. Keep in mind that, just like public housing, this program also has a long waiting list. However, before you can receive a voucher, a recipient first needs to meet the following requirements:
- Find a rental property that meets Section 8 standards
- Get approval from the landlord of the property on your application
- Meet the income requirements in your area
Approved recipients may run into obstacles when finding a property to live in. This is because not every landlord accepts vouchers. Due to this, the properties that can be chosen are limited. Although the government does provide tax incentives to landlords that do accept vouchers, unfortunately, there are no laws that state that they must. It may be easy to let both this fact and the waiting list discourage you, but it could be worth it in the long run if you’re able to receive the help you need!
Different Home Loans for Low-Income Households
Renting can feel like throwing money away for some people. It may feel like you’re paying a lot of money towards your living situation each month, yet it’s not directly benefiting your future. This is why some people choose to buy a home instead! However, the traditional home-buying process can be time-consuming and expensive. What if you can’t afford to go the traditional route and you don’t want to continue renting? This is where home loans specifically for low-income individuals come in.
Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program
Qualifying low-income individuals can benefit from this loan program, which includes subsidized interest rates with no down payment necessary. This loan can be used to relocate a home to a rural area. However, the main purpose of this loan program is for the funds to be used for updating, renovating, and building homes in rural areas. The program allows for both mobile and manufactured homes to be included. This is offered by the Rural Housing Service (RHS) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Farm Labor Housing Loans
This loan program can be offered to farmers, family farm corporations, farm worker associations, Native American tribes, and non-profit organizations. These loans are intended to be used towards purchasing, building, repairing, and updating housing for farm laborers. Aqua farming as well as on-farm processing are included in this type of home loan program.
Ways to Decrease Housing Costs Without Government Assistance
You may need to consider other ways to lower your housing expenses if you don’t qualify for any housing support. Furthermore, your situation may require attention sooner than you can get assistance due to the long waiting lists for some of the more popular programs.
Move to an Area Where Housing Rates are Lower
The first option you could take is to move to an area where housing costs are significantly lower. Major U.S. cities, such as New York or Philadelphia, have housing rates that are much higher when compared to another city, such as Green Bay, Wisconsin. Moving out of state may not be an option for you depending on if you have family in the area or a good job you don’t want to leave.
Downsize or Cut Other Costs
If you can’t move to another state or city, you may be able to move a short drive away and still find better rent rates. Furthermore, you could find a smaller apartment or home to live in. This could be a good option for you if you were able to afford your home at one point but your circumstances have changed. If you are able to find a roommate or a family member to move in with you, you may not have to move at all! Other ways you can cut costs are by trading in your car for something with a cheaper monthly payment, canceling subscriptions you don’t need, or keeping track of extra expenses more closely.
There are a variety of housing assistance opportunities for families that are in need. Two examples include Public Housing and the Housing Choice Voucher program. Both of these housing support programs are offered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Due to the state of the housing market, affordable housing is extremely difficult to come by. For this reason, many households are waiting a long time to get the help they need. If you want to benefit from either of these federal programs, you need to meet certain requirements. You can get started by reaching out to your local PHA.