Housing expenses make up for the majority of most household’s budgets. However, it’s not always easy for struggling families to meet these costs, especially when living in more expensive communities. If you’re a part of a low-income household that is struggling to pay for rental and utility costs, you may qualify for one of the following programs:
The Housing Choice Voucher Program: Also known as Section 8, The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides government assistance towards rental costs. To be eligible for the program, you must meet income, citizenship, rental history, and household-makeup guidelines.
Benefits are paid directly to landlords each month on behalf of the participating family. The amount of rental assistance a family can receive is based on their household income and size. With this program, families are only responsible for the difference between their rent amount and their Section 8 benefits.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP provides financial assistance to low-income families struggling to pay their heating or cooling costs. In addition to utility bill assistance, the program offers financial assistance for heating and cooling emergencies and weatherization improvements to make a home more energy efficient.
The Lifeline Program: Lifeline provides government assistance for the cost of telephone and broadband internet services. Households that qualify for the program can receive a discount off of their bill each month. To qualify, you must receive your services through an approved provider and meet income-based requirements. Generally, you can meet the income guidelines for Lifeline if you receive assistance from another federal program, such as SNAP.
The Rural House Repair Loans and Grants Program: Also referred to as the Section 504 Home Repair program, this program provides loans and grants towards housing repair costs. The loan part of the program can provide up to $20,000 in government assistance to very low-income households that cannot obtain affordable credit elsewhere. Additionally, applicants can receive up to $7,500 in grants if they are at least 62 years old. To qualify for a loan or grant, you must be the homeowner and live in the home.
First-Time Homebuyer Federal Grants: Many states, local communities, and lenders offer free grants to first-time homebuyers to help cover closing costs and down payment expenses. These expenses are one of the primary barricades preventing low-income families from becoming homeowners. Additionally, you may qualify for government-backed mortgages, which can make it easier to qualify for a mortgage and reduce down payment requirements.
Click the next slide to learn more about additional helpful government assistance programs that you and your family may qualify for.