Houston and Harris County Texas offer a number of low income housing and emergency rental assistance programs for qualified families in the region. There are housing units for the disabled, people with special needs, and emergency grant programs. Find extensive information about various housing assistance programs in Houston below. Many of the programs referenced are funded and organized by the government and the Houston Housing Authority, and local non-profits in your area accept applications and provide funds to qualified applicants.
Home of Your Own Homeownership Program – Low income homebuyers with disabilities may receive funds and grants to buy a new home, or get assistance with modifying an existing home. Up to $15,000 can be provided to use towards the purchase of a new home. If modifications to an existing home do not exceed $8,500, then the Homeownership Program can provide up to $6,500 for this service. The money can be used for closing cost assistance or homebuyer down payments too.
There are a number of criteria that need to be met by low income families applying for the Home of Your Own Homeownership Program in Houston. They include the applicant must meet low-income levels as defined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. A family member must have a disability. In addition, applicants need to complete a homebuyer’s class and receive credit counseling before receiving assistance from Housing Opportunities of Houston.
To learn more, call Houston Area Urban League, as they run the program in cooperation with the Housing Opportunities of Houston. The City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department also participates in the program. Call 713.522.4663 or dial 713.393.8730.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program as well as other Low-Rent Public Housing Programs are available in Harris County Texas as well. The Houston Housing Authority manages the programs in partnership with public housing authorities and local non-profits.
If you meet program requirements and are enrolled, families who receive housing vouchers generally pay between 30 to 40 percent of their total household annual income for rent and housing expenses. The balance is paid from the section 8 program. The total monthly rent owed for the home or apartment must be reasonably compared with similar unassisted units in the Harris County area. Also the property that the family is renting must also meet HUD's Section 8 Housing Quality Standards. Around 50,000 individuals across Houston benefit from this voucher program.
The Houston Family Self-Sufficiency Program – This is more of a case management and self-sufficiency program. Counselors from the agency offer job advice and will in general try to help people find employment and other case-managed services, all of which are designed to promote economic self-sufficiency for low income families that are currently participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program. Work with a counselor who is part of FSS to develop specific economic goals, via their Individual Training and Services Plan. Some of the services provided include Transportation, Job Training and Employment Counseling, Household skill training, Child Care, Education, Homeownership Counseling, and substance/alcohol abuse treatment or counseling.
Special Needs Housing – The government housing authority coordinates with Houston and Harris County area shelters, non-profits, and charities in both preventing homelessness and doing what they can to break the cycle of homelessness. They also work with local shelters. The Houston Housing Authority works with numerous homeless assistance and prevention agencies to bring coordinated approaches to address the problem of evictions and homelessness. Some programs are pro-active, like emergency rental assistance. Others are more reactive, like finding new low income housing units.
A program is offered for residents who have AIDs or HIV as well. The Houston area Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDs (HOPWA) provides multifamily housing, case management and related supportive services to Harris County and Houston Texas individuals. A number of grants and financial assistance is offered to local non-profits and charities in the region. These non-profits accept applications and provide funding to those who need help. Various supportive services are covered by HOPWA, and the expenses paid for must be tied to housing and rent expenses, mortgage and utility assistance, and other costs. Houston HOPWA supportive services may provide assistance with housing counseling, case management, housekeeping, transportation, and more.
A federal government funded program known as the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) Program provides funds to local agencies for running and the expansion of emergency shelters, offers the provision of essential supportive services to homeless individuals, and may offer limited amounts of emergency rental assistance to people in Houston who are faced with an eviction. This emergency grant program is administered by the Child Care Council of Houston, Incorporated.
Transitional Housing – The city provides funding to non-profits and charities across the city, which then operate shelters and transitional housing units for those faced with poverty, homeless, and others who need help.
As indicated above, either the federal government or the State of Texas fund these various housing and rent programs. The Houston Housing Authority (phone number is 713.260.0377) administrates many of them, and can be a good resource to use to learn more about the different options that are available.
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