As the economy slowly becomes more and more difficult for the average American to handle, affordable housing has become incredibly difficult to come by, creating a number of issues for low-income Americans in need of a roof over their heads.
While most housing options are rented or sold on the private real estate market, dozens of different agencies sponsored by the federal government can help provide affordable housing for those who need it.
From covering the costs of housing to finding a home for any qualifying Americans who can’t afford their own, housing assistance is definitely available, and it comes in many forms.
This allows low-income Americans to have access to the housing market even if their income level wouldn’t normally allow them to, removing the massive burden housing expenses can become to low-income families and households.
What is housing assistance?
In general, housing assistance from the federal government was created as a means of helping low-income families not be burdened by their housing expenses.
This relates to the amount of their monthly income that’s dedicated to these expenses, and in order for a housing option to be considered affordable, one mustn’t spend over 30% of their income on it.
This also includes utility and other bills, which amounts to yet another expense that the average American family has trouble dealing with.
While some programs cover a small portion of rent in a way that allows the applicant to dedicate only up to 30% of their income to housing expenses, others cover this cost completely, giving the beneficiary time and leeway to focus on other issues they may be dealing with at the time.
This helps families going through financial struggles get back on their feet in no time.
Oftentimes, this term refers to a number of different things, ranging from entire apartment complexes to single-family homes, and each state has a number of organizations managing and operating these properties.
Usually, you’ll encounter one of two different types of public housing, as they can either be housing developments funded by the Commonwealth or properties subsidized by the Federal Government, better known as federal public housing options.
Both of these are owned by Local Housing Authorities on a local level, although some of these LHAs are only capable of owning state-funded public housing, whereas others focus on the other type instead.
These housing options are all managed by the Department of Housing and Community Development on a national level, and this also includes housing options for the elderly and handicapped individuals or households.
Any low-income family is eligible for the program, so long as they meet certain income requirements proposed by the state’s organization administering the program.
While some Americans have trouble finding housing at all, others merely have trouble paying for the entirety of their rental costs, and it’s exactly why the federal government created programs to help with this growing issue.
In states like Massachussets, 3 programs are dominant in this area, those being the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which is available on a national level, the Massachussets Rental Voucher Program, and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program, all of which function on a similar basis.
The idea is as simple as they come, as all of the aforementioned programs offer vouchers to qualifying individuals who can then exchange them as a form of rent payment with participating landlords.
The amount of benefits can vary, although you should expect to receive enough to cover a portion of your income, leaving you with the duty of spending only 30% of it on housing.
The voucher programs were created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, although the alternative and rental vouchers are funded by the Commonwealth.
A growing number of Americans deal with homelessness on a regular basis, and it’s even given birth to a term known as “chronic homelessness”, which is used to refer to people that have trouble maintaining a stable housing option.
Because of this, these individuals often find themselves in shelters or rehab centers, which provide a small but insufficient amount of assistance to those struggling with homelessness.
Housing Consumer Education Centers assist these people in a number of ways, including giving them some much-needed tips on how to obtain and take care of an affordable housing option for extended periods of time, keeping them out of shelters for as long as possible.
This assistance is available to both tenants and landlords, and you’ll find that they can specialize in dealing with a wide variety of different issues, ranging from energy assistance to safety and health concerns that a housing option may have.
With this, the average American doesn’t have to worry too much about the many complications that come with owning/renting a property, which, in turn, allows them to focus on fixing their financial situation.