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Housing assistance programs.

Both tenants as well as homeowners can apply for a number of housing assistance programs, and there are also resources for the homeless. Many of them are run by federal or state governments, but some of the resources available are offered by local non-profit organizations or even national charity groups.

The goal of each one of these housing programs is to ensure that families from all backgrounds have a safe and affordable place to live, whether they rent or own their home or if they are currently without a place to live. Whether someone is a senior, immigrant, disabled, or a family living in or near poverty levels, assistance is available.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the leading federal government agency involved. But they are just one of the places to turn to for help. There are in fact thousands of other organizations located across the country that provide everything from grants to pay for rent or utilities to free foreclosure counseling, vouchers, and placement into subsidized apartments. A list of resources for struggling tenants, the homeless as well as homeowners are below.

Case managers or volunteers are available at each of the agencies. They can show families how to apply for housing assistance and they go over the application criteria. If there is not a resource available in the local community, they will also try to provide referrals as there are a number of national resources that may be able to assist. Each one of the main housing programs available is listed below.

Housing programs for low income tenants

Funding is always limited when it comes to direct financial aid. When applying for housing help, there is often a priority given to families that are mostly stable but facing a short term crisis, such as a medical issue or unexpected car repair. The reason being is that any money for saying paying rent or housing costs associated with leasing a home will not do any good unless the tenant can afford the future bills on their own. Thus the focus on offering assistance to applicants with a short term, time limited crisis.




Another goal of the charitable and HUD housing programs is for helping vulnerable tenants such as those families with children to the elderly or sick. As if they were to be evicted or lose their home, those vulnerable individuals would be most at risk from homelessness. But no matter the applicant's need or background, there are often resources available.

Public housing assistance, subsidies, and Section 8 vouchers are all available. Any low income family applying for this type of government help will need to meet all of the criteria in place. They will generally need to pay some of the rent on their own as well as utility bills as these are income based apartments. Other conditions are usually set around budgeting, case management, and more. However section 8 HUD vouchers are an always a possibility for families with an income around poverty levels. Get details on regional agencies to apply at for housing choice vouchers from Section 8.

Tenants that do not pay their energy bills or rent on time may be faced with an imminent eviction. Landlords have the ability to send a pay or quit or vacate notice when this occurs. They can do this even if the utility bill is unpaid. Section 8 tenants and people living in public housing can also be evicted.

If and when this occurs, there are various housing programs that provide eviction help. The type of assistance provided will vary greatly, based on the cause of the crisis. Any low income family or someone in an emergency can apply for grants, legal aid, and other support.

Government housing, assisted living, and financial aid can help the disabled. There is assistance for people with a mental and/or physical disability. If a child or senior is impacted, then their parents or caregiver can apply for help. These individuals are often given priority when it comes to support or rent subsidies, and find housing assistance for the disabled.







Children from low income, single parent families can get help. It is very difficult for those tenants to pay for the costs of raising a kid. The cost of housing, child care, food, and other bills (when combined with rent) can lead many to struggle. There are both non-profits and government housing programs that provide single parents with rental assistance, and the support is for both mothers and fathers.

Some government programs can provide rent free apartments to very low income families. Local public housing authorities often run these services, and they are part of section 8 and the income guidelines in place. Many of the properties are for seniors, the disabled and people with zero income and who can’t work. Find more details on how to live rent free in government backed housing.

Tenants facing eviction can call on an attorney that focuses on offering free legal aid in housing court. There are lawyers that help contest an eviction notice. If the property owner has sent a pay or quit notice (especially if it is illegal), then each and every state has housing laws in place that can assist the renter. There are tenant protections for discrimination, noise disturbance, illegal rent increases, and more. Immigrants, whether legal or not, also often face challenges when it comes to their housing, and attorneys can advise them. Based on the client’s income, the attorney that provides eviction defense can be free, but some will come with a minimal cost.

People often face challenges to rent a new home when they have been evicted in the past. A landlord or property management company will be hesitant to lease a property in those instances. There are some ways to get assistance for housing needs in these cases. Some of the programs are financial and some of them are legal and/or counseling services. Find suggestions on how to remove eviction from rental history.

Low cost housing, with no wait list, is available as well. Granted the units are harder to find, and tend to give priority to say veterans, single moms or the disabled, but they do allow families to move into the property immediately. They can also provide assistance in a crisis. Both national charities as well as state or federal government operate the programs. Locate affordable housing to move into with no wait list.

Families that are struggling to pay their monthly rent have many programs available to them. With the cost of housing continuing to increase faster than incomes, many low to even moderate income families are struggling to keep up. Tenants have many different charitable as well as government sponsored programs to help them address any housing needs. While funding is always limited, find a listing of resources that can provide support to people that need help paying rent.

Government grants, or funds from charities, can also help families get into some housing unit, whether an apartment, condo, town-home, or some other rental.  This can assist both someone moving and/or an individual that was formerly homeless. The money may also pay the deposit, and get financial help for an apartment.

Low income senior housing programs are available. There are homes for the elderly, retirees, senior citizens and older Americans. The housing is rent subsidized, may offer medical care and support such as free transportation, utility bill help to senior citizens and other benefits. Find low income elderly housing.

Government subsidies, including section 8 housing or rent help is available for victims of domestic violence. Charities as well as public housing agencies also have information on the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program. The federal government provides emergency grants or funds to states, community action agencies, and PHAs so that individuals who have been abused, including single women and parents 9and children if applicable), can receive housing assistance. It also supports their children if they have them.

The client is given emergency housing assistance for apartments or a safe house to live in. It also gives women related self-sufficiency services. Domestic violence housing can support anyone who is facing this serious issue, whether women, children, or immigrants.





Resources for homeowners

Many of the housing programs available do focus on families that rent, especially when it comes to financial support. They tend to have the greatest need for assistance, and it is often less expensive for HUD or a charity to help a tenant vs. someone that owns their own home or is facing a foreclosure. Even with that being the case, there are still a number of resources that do provide help with paying a mortgage.

Free counseling is available. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved thousands of non-profits to provide this service to homeowners of all income levels. As part of the process, a specialist will meet with the client to help them find a solution. Find how a HUD counseling agency provides foreclosure help.

Lawyers also provide housing assistance. The services they provide can help tenants, but it may be most effective when dealing with a bank that is trying to foreclosure on a home. The federal government allocates grants each year to pay for the Legal Services Corporation program, and this is the local organization that offers free legal aid on housing.

State governments provide their own housing programs to homeowners. They are generally run at the local level, and can vary by town, county, and city. The type of assistance provided will vary greatly and can even change from year to year. Everything from mediation to cash grants, principal reduction programs, and more is offered. Find government mortgage and foreclosure assistance programs.

Homeowners have access to many other mortgage assistance programs both from HUD and other sources. It is always critical to ask for help prior to missing a payment. It is more likely to get help in averting a foreclosure as well as other housing assistance when starting early.

Housing assistance for the homeless

No matter why someone is homeless there is assistance available. The first goal is to usually get the person off the streets into some form of stable environment. This is where transitional housing or shelters can be used. Most of these centers are run by local charity organizations. They not only provide the client a place to sleep, but often food, free medical care, case management, and other housing services are offered.

Due to demand, or lack or resources, there may be many times when a shelter is full. Or there may be waiting lists in place. If and when this occurs, vouchers may be provided. There may be also motel rooms given to parents with children or the vulnerable, such as homeless senior citizens. Many social service offices offer this form of housing aid. This form of subsidy is generally only provided in an emergency (such as when the weather is cold) and for a very short term time frame. Find hotel vouchers.





The homeless, or families just getting over an eviction, will often find it impossible to come up with the cash to pay a rental deposit. In some cases, housing assistance can help people pay for their moving costs or deposits. The funding is very limited, and in almost all cases the applicant needs to provide the ability to pay their future costs on their own. Prospective tenants also need to have signed a lease for a home or apartment that is safe, affordable, and that meets a long list of other HUD established criteria. Locate help for paying security deposits.


By Jon McNamara

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