Finding affordable apartments is becoming more of a challenge for many people as housing costs soar across the U.S. In fact, the price of houses and rent for apartments, houses and other units are increasing far faster than most people’s incomes. This is especially true for low-income individuals and families and those who get financial assistance for disabilities. All of this makes finding an affordable place to live incredibly difficult, especially if you don’t have good credit.
In addition, many landlords and property management companies ask for the first and last month’s rent before you can move into a unit. But there are many ways to find cheap apartments for rent, including low-income housing, that also works with you to move into a rental more easily with little money down.
Keep reading to learn more about cheap housing options and how to qualify.
The U.S. government knows that housing costs are getting too high for many people to afford, which is why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manages rental assistance programs that help with rent, making your financial situation that much more comfortable.
One such program is the Housing Choice Voucher Program, more commonly known as Section 8. This HUD-sponsored program provides vouchers to low-income individuals and families so they can better afford safe housing in their area.
If you qualify for the Section 8 voucher program, you can use these vouchers to pay for a portion of your rent. Then, you would be responsible for paying the rest of your rent, which typically comes to about 30%.
There are some stipulations to choosing this HUD low-income housing option. For one, you may have to choose a different kind of housing if your current rental and utility costs are more than 40% of your household’s income. That means you would find a landlord who’s willing to accept the voucher and let you pay the rest on your own. But you can consult with your local housing authority to see a list of local Section 8 houses to rent and other properties that accept program participants as tenants.
Other HUD voucher programs you may qualify for include:
- Homeownership Vouchers, which help qualifying individuals and families pay their mortgages.
- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers, which are exclusively for helping veterans and their families find and stay in homes.
- Vouchers for Persons With Disabilities, which assist families of non-elderly, disabled family members pay for safe housing.
- Family Unification Program, which assists families with children who are about to be placed into out-of-home care due to inadequate housing and young adults leaving foster care.
In order to qualify for any of these programs, you must have a very low income. The Public Housing Authority (PHA) takes the earnings of all household members and compares the total to your area’s median income. That means you could qualify in one county but not another. But you can apply to multiple area PHAs and live in an area where you qualify to receive benefits.
There are also ways to find affordable housing without receiving assistance from a voucher program. For instance, the government owns apartment buildings and offers housing in these buildings to low-income families who qualify. Learn more about this assistance program on the next slide.