Do you need help paying rent, bills, and other basics? Stop struggling and apply for financial assistance from government programs created to help low-income Americans. You may qualify for cash to cover housing, food, healthcare, and more expenses.
Social programs can provide temporary assistance while you are between jobs, working part-time, and after an emergency. Other members of your household may still qualify even if you do not, so it is often worth applying for benefits. Discover more about government programs that can help lower your expenses.
A rent or mortgage payment is likely your biggest single monthly expense. Financial experts suggest not spending more than 30 percent of your gross income on your housing costs.
But that number may be unrealistically low if you have a limited income or live in an expensive area. The “30 Percent Rule” may also not work if you have high monthly expenses, like childcare, student loan payments, and debt.
Rental Assistance Programs
The goal of low income housing and government rental assistance programs is to help you spend a fair amount of your income on housing. If you need help paying rent, you can apply to the Housing Choice Voucher Program and Public Housing for assistance.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) provides rent relief by subsidizing – paying for – a portion of your rent directly to your landlord. A “voucher” is the monthly amount the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) will pay on your behalf.
To qualify for subsidized housing, your household must have a low or very low income and be in need of a clean and safe home. Income limits depend on the number of members in your household and the specific area where you live. Typically, your household income must be at or less than the federal poverty level.
If the local PHA approves your application for income restricted apartments, you must find suitable housing with a landlord willing to participate in the program. Some rentals advertise as low income housing that accepts Section 8 vouchers.
Public Housing is subsidized housing, but you do not get a choice of where you will live. While you can use Section 8 vouchers for private housing, the Public Housing assistance is limited to government-owned properties. Public Housing properties include:
· Single-family and multi-family houses.
· Condominiums and townhouses.
As the name suggests, your income must not surpass the maximum set for the apartment. A quick search for “low income apartments near me” online may help, or you can use rental websites with the keyword “low income.”
First-Time Home Buyer Programs
If you are a first time home buyer, you could take advantage of programs and benefits that make it easier for you to purchase your first home. Most first time home buyer programs lessen the loan and purchasing requirements.
For example, you typically need thousands for a down payment and good credit to qualify for a mortgage. The FHA Loan Program insures your loan so the lender can reduce credit score, down payment, and closing costs requirements. You may also qualify for a better interest rate. FHA loans can finance your home purchase and renovations.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sells homes for less than market value. HUD lets “owner occupants” – like first-time homebuyers – bid before investors and organizations interested in buying cheap properties.
Rent for senior apartments is usually cheaper than apartments without age restrictions. Affordable senior housing may also cater to your needs as you age. Some facilities may have nursing care, medical supplies, or other amenities.
Income-based senior apartments are even more affordable. You can typically find these rentals in the following ways:
· By searching “senior apartments near me” in your web browser
· Looking through the HUD Resource Locator on the department’s website
· On rental apps by using a “55+” filter or similar option