Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head and a safe place to sleep.
For some that task is achieved easier than others.
Does your 9 – 5 job fall short of meeting your financial obligations? Are you having trouble stretching your paycheck far enough to afford for your family to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities and cover all the usual living expenses?
Is your living situation at risk? Low-income housing may be the solution you need to get back on your feet and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’ve been searching for how to get low-income housing fast, you’re not alone. Not by a longshot.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), over 43.7 million renter households have incomes that measure below the poverty level (or below 30% of the area’s median income level).
This gap in wages vs. the cost of living has made it increasingly difficult for individuals and families alike to find affordable low-income housing quickly and reliably.
In this guide, we help you understand your options as a low-income household, and the steps you can take to get low-income housing fast.
Although the processes aren’t always as quick as we’d like, the sooner you roll up your sleeves and dive in, the faster you can find out what you qualify for.
So how do you get low-income housing fast if you’re in a tough spot?
In a rental property agreement, there are two sides to the contract, the landlord and the renter. The property owner needs to get the best rental amount to cover a mortgage, if there is one, with an additional profit margin left over at the end of the month. The renter simply needs an affordable place to live.
Whatever the scenario may be, there is, at the end of the day, a set amount that needs to be paid on a monthly basis to have those four walls and a roof become a home.
However, with the ever-rising costs of rental properties in states across the country, the situation is being pushed further beyond the reach of many minimum paying wage slips, and pushing hundreds of thousands of people into dire living scenarios.
Fortunately, the government is keenly aware of the myriad problems associated with low-income renters and conversely rising rental prices, and have set up programs to assist those who cannot afford to get permanent housing by themselves. These programs are aimed at those on social security benefits, those in low-income jobs, the disabled with meagre incomes, the elderly barely able to survive, and even veterans who have been dealt a bad hand.
These programs have been developed so that thousands of disadvantaged people can find somewhere to turn to at a low point in their lives, and that can make the difference between sleeping rough or sleeping safely.
But how quick is the system and how long are the waiting times? And is there a shortcut?
One of the first programs is a subsidized housing program offered by the government. Run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), claimants can log onto the website and apply for assistance.
After filling in the online forms, and providing a full disclosure of monthly income, expenses, if any dependents will be included in the application, and any other pertinent information, the claimant will be notified if they qualify for low-income housing.
There are other application forms available in the system for different sections of society, for those who fall under different categories due to their circumstances, but who are also classed as being under the low-income bracket.
If, after this rigorous evaluation, the claimant is eligible for assistance, then the next step is finding or being awarded a residence.
The HUD And Claimants For Low-Income Housing
Veterans are often able to qualify for housing quickly under various Veterans programs, as a recognition of the sacrifice they have made in defense of their country.
There is a special free hotline number to call for those in need of emergency housing, specifically just for them, as well as a dedicated website set up by the HUD where all the details are explained simply on how they can get housed in the fastest way possible.
In the case of the elderly, there is a supportive program that provides apartments for those seniors on low incomes, possibly for the rest of their lives. Additionally, they can get assistance with housekeeping and transportation.
Being aware that the elderly population is constantly growing, HUD offers loans to nonprofit organizations and even real estate companies to build facilities to make housing more available and affordable.
How to Find the Right Low Income Housing Program For You
The best way to start the search for which housing program will best suit your situation, whether you are low income, homeless, a senior, a veteran, or even if you have been temporarily displaced by a catastrophe such as a hurricane or an earthquake, is to go to the HUD website.
Transitional housing is included as a natural disaster can affect the income level of anyone unexpectedly, either by destroying a home or a business, and leave someone in an untenable situation.
HUD Eligibility Requirements
With the HUD, each applicant is judged on an individual basis as no two cases are the same. For example, the eligibility criteria can vary dramatically from state to state across the country, based on the cost of living in that county.
And this is reflected in the salary levels, where a family on what at first appears to be a good rate of pay above the living wage, is actually classified as being on low-income and qualifies to be on one of the HUD programs.
Even considering this variance of wage slips, ranging from a high of $129,00 a year down to a low of $71,300, the low-income requirement levels for acceptance can still vary from one year to the next.
For this reason, the necessary income requirements to be accepted on one of the programs should be verified on the HUD website for your state, and the information submitted on the forms have to be very accurate.
Other details such as social security number, proof of income, and dependents if any, will be required as the background checks are quite thorough. In some cases, previous rental details may be required as well as proof of U.S. citizenship, and a disclosure of any criminal history.
How Fast Can you Get Low Income Housing if Approved?
All of these government programs are there to facilitate the housing process in as fast a manner as possible, to ensure that the trauma of not having somewhere to live doesn’t deteriorate further into a worst-case scenario.
Waiting for a property with the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) is not a speedy process across many states, unfortunately, as the waiting lists are fairly lengthy. This is why if it is within your means, renting a private property with a landlord or in a living community can be a faster option.
Although you’re likely on a tight budget, now is not the time to skimp on insurance. In many cases, various low-income housing options or programs may require that you have renter’s insurance, leaving you little choice. Renters insurance provides renters with a low cost option to insure their belongings and self from liabilities such as an accident in your apartment or home, burglaries/theft, damage from fires and more.
What Other Options Do I Have for Low Income Housing?
Apart from searching on the HUD website, there is another website that offers housing called Zumper(dot)com.
This company lists a wide range of rental properties from private landlords, ranging from apartments, to houses, to community housing across the country, all at reasonable prices.
Whenever the property is found, a rental application form will need to be completed and presented to the HUD. On the application form, it is important to list the full legal names of the people that will be living with you, their ages, incomes if any, and social security numbers.
Section 8 Vouchers
And this where a Section 8 voucher can be applied for to receive further assistance in helping to pay the rent.
This is an important document to utilize if the criteria to qualify for public housing cannot be met, or the waiting list is just too long for you to keep waiting in line.
The priority for this voucher is given to those most in need, such as those families who are already homeless and those paying more than 50% of their income on rent, and being left with not enough to cover other living expenses. With this subsidized voucher, a set portion of the rent is paid directly to the landlord, with the difference being paid by the tenant.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Low Income Housing Fast
Now even though there is no fast lane to getting low-income housing, applying on the HUD website is one of the best options to getting a permanent living space as fast as possible.
Options are available for people from all walks of life, for people in all types of circumstances, whether forced into out-of-home situations through lack of sufficient funds or unforeseen catastrophes.
No matter what your present living arrangements may be, there is a way to move forward to find a house or apartment where a new, fresh start can be realized. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is there to help and is just a quick mouse click, or a phone call away. Looking for more information about housing? Read our blog article about How to Rent an Apartment.