Rental assistance programs.
Find help paying your rent from various government agencies, non-profits and charity programs. Some of the resources may provide direct financial or one time rental assistance, while others will only offer referrals. The exact type of assistance available will depend on the amount of funds available as well as the tenant’s situation. Applicants can either get help with rent or they can get support in signing up for public housing or other private resources.
Government organizations that help pay rent
Many states and local governments operate agencies and administer public assistance type programs that can offer help paying rent, security deposits, or other housing expenses. For example Massachusetts offers RAFT, the THHSC rent assistance program is available in Texas, the Florida EFAHP program, Connecticut RAP, and there are many other government housing benefits available. Each program is focused on offering short term financial assistance to help pay a portion of the rent that is due in an effort to reduce homelessness in the community.
The goal is to provide temporary rental assistance to low to moderate income tenants. To learn more or to apply, contact the assistance agencies and programs in your state to get information on rent help from these types of resources. Or call your local community action agency to learn about what other government services and programs that may be available.
Rent assistance from Federal Housing Program
The federal government is providing billions of dollars for housing and rental assistance as a result of the stimulus program. They also provide additional funds on an annual basis to local agencies. The money is being allocated across the nation with thousands of non-profits providing grants directly to qualified applicants. There are funds being allocated each and every year to families that are struggling to keep up with their housing needs.
The name of the program being funded is The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (more on this program), and most of the rental help is being distributed at the local government level. Your local social service agency, county government, charities and other organizations will process applications.
Help with rent from Federal Government Organizations
The largest program is HUD (Housing and Urban Development). Almost 1.5 million families use this program and it helps those in need pay their rent as well as security deposits. There are also vouchers available from HUD that can help the disabled as well as senior citizens pay any rental arrears they may have. Other housing costs such as energy bills may be paid for as well.
It is targeted to low income individuals, including senior citizens and the disabled. In addition to offering grants that help pay rent, the government Rental Voucher Program also helps to increase the availability of affordable housing choices by allowing families to select privately owned rental housing. More.
USDA Rural Development provides affordable housing, vouchers, and rental assistance for struggling rural families. Beneficiaries tend to be low-income residents, disabled, and the elderly who live in multi-unit housing buildings. Continue.
Veterans and their families can get help with paying rent from a federal government resource known as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program. It is a grant based program that can help for one or more months. This service is providing rental assistance vouchers and security deposit assistance to both veterans and their family members. More.
Receive legal advice to prevent evictions. Over one million people per year receive some form of free legal assistance and counsel to help them deal with eviction notices. The assistance is provided from the federal government funded Legal Services Corp.
As part of this service, attorneys can try to mediate a solution with your landlord and advise you on your rights. Or they can help you apply for government benefits such section 8, offer help with solving housing discrimination, and provide other aid. There may even be lawyers that can represent the tenant in housing court, and this process may refer the client to a place that can help them with their rent. Click here to read more.
Or if you are being evicted because your landlord is facing foreclosure, read about your tenant - landlord foreclosure rights. There are legal rights that each tenant has.
Apply for government or private grants. There is money available for paying rental arrears and related housing costs. Many non-profit private organizations as well as the government have information on or offer cash grants that can be used to help pay rent.
Eviction prevention programs
Find emergency rental assistance from programs that prevent homelessness and evictions. The federal government, many local and state governments as well as non profit organizations have emergency eviction prevention programs in place. It combines everything from legal aid to short term housing as well as help with paying rental costs. The assistance is targeted at low and moderate income individuals and families that have notice from their landlord.
Many of the programs will try to prevent evictions and associated lawsuits, with a goal of stopping homelessness. Some even try to stop foreclosures. They provide resources such as mediation, landlord and tenant assessments, conflict resolution, direct rent payments or grants to tenants, as well as other forms of rental assistance. Or an agency may be able to help you locate more affordable housing. Learn more.
Rent assistance from charities and local resources
For short term rent help look to your local community, including non-profits and charities. Churches may also have some funds available for housing expenses or they can show tenants how to get help. If you are experiencing a difficult time in paying your rent for a month or if you think you may soon fall behind, you should contact community based and local agencies that may be able to help you and your family. Many have money that can help with paying housing costs, rent and security deposits.
There are many community groups, churches, and charitable organizations that will sometimes have funds that can help people who are having financial difficulties. Some of the organizations, such as the Salvation Army and United Way, can assist with making rent payments if they have funding available. Priority is often given to people living in an apartment who are faced with a short term financial hardship or crisis.
Dozens of national and local charities help with rental expenses. They will also often provide case management, referrals, and other social services. Even if they do not have funding, staff from a charity often can provide information on how to apply for free grants for paying back rent. See the following link of organizations that can help.
There are also additional charities and not for profit organizations that can help with paying other housing costs, such as utility and heating bills. Resources provided are often one-time-only or they are given on a first-come-first-served basis. This means that you should not depend on these sources over the long term for rent or housing assistance. Calling these organizations, even if you are not affiliated with their group or already a member, can sometimes get you the financial help you need. Or if an organization does not have funding, many can refer people to another agency that can help with paying rent and bills if your need is great.
Some examples of agencies that can help with these types of expenses include Catholic Charities, government social service offices, the United Way, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Legal Aid Society. There are other organizations that can assist in a crisis, such as applicants dealing with unexpected unemployment or a reduction in household income. Find more emergency rent assistance agencies.
Many local churches are increasing their assistance programs, including offering more rent help, electric bill aid, and more. However many of these churches rely heavily on donations from the community and therefore tend to have very limited funding available.
Short term and transitional housing programs are operated by numerous non-profit agencies. For families that are behind on their rent and facing imminent eviction or individuals that are currently homeless, these programs can help them find a place to live, such as a shelter or low income apartment. They can also help clients gain self-sufficiency as they stay in this short term housing.
Once stability occurs, get assistance in locating a new, low income home or apartment to live in. While more limited, some of these transitional services can direct qualified clients to resources that can help them pay for expenses. There may be financial help to pay for moving costs, a security deposit, or maybe even the first months rent that is due to the landlord for their new home. Read more.
Non-profits as well as charity organizations may also offer help with paying rental deposits. In general, if a family is living in a now unaffordable home, or if an individual was homeless and they now have a job, assistance may be provided. There may also be help in paying for moving costs or first month’s rent that a landlord requires.
Financial help for a security deposit or moving expense is not as common. An agency will often want the applicant to be stable before any money is provided. However there may be short term rent assistance available as part of a rehousing program or other government backed program. Find more details on security deposit help.
A number of other housing resources are available. In addition to offering short term rental assistance, various agencies coordinate free legal aid, provide mortgage help and assist tenants so they can buy a home. While most of these resources are limited in capacity, there are several options available.
The assistance can be provided in many ways. Grants are used to in order to help with rent arrears, attorneys can dispute an illegal eviction or housing discrimination, and general counseling is also available. The agencies that take applications to these housing assistance programs can be government supported, charities, or even a non-profit such as the United Way, as they all want to help pay rent or deposits.
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