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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to find low-income apartments for rent

Low-income housing
Low-income housing is sponsored by government programs
Finding low income apartments for rent is a challenge faced by many Americans who face living expenses that consume much of their income. Not including private arrangement, lower rent neighborhoods due to low property values and alternative living, there are a number of programs and ways to help find low income apartments for rent. 

Some of these ways include federal, state, municipal or non-profit programs that provide assistance locating affordable housing, and/or in subsidizing the cost of rent. Qualification for these programs varies on criteria such as income, living status, health, and household information. Below is information on, and possible sources of information and assistance for locating low income apartments for rent.

HUD: Section 8


Low income earners who qualify for Section 8 housing assistance may receive assistance for rent in excess of 3/10ths of income; this is illustrated with more elaboration on the Section 8 website. To illustrate Section 8 qualification further, if an individual is determined by the local Section 8 administrator to be below a certain income mark, and that individual's income is $20,000 per year and their rent costs $8000/year, Section 8 may pay for $2000.00 worth of the housing expense. It is important to note that not all residences participate in the Section 8 program and not all persons who qualify for Section 8 are guaranteed to receive assistance.

USDA: Housing Community Facilities Program (HCFP) 


The HCFP program is administered by the US Department of Agriculture and not the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This program includes what its website calls Section 514 and 515 depending on the type of housing. Income qualification for this program is similar to that of the HUD administered Section 8 program with a key difference being the location and type of housing i.e. farm and rural housing. For more information on the Section 514 and 515 programs the following HCFP website is illustrative of the aforementioned information, and explains the program in further detail.

FEMA: Federal/State Disaster assistance


If home or living circumstances have been affected by an area officially designated as a disaster are the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be able to provide temporary rental assistance. For more information on FEMA run and sponsored programs please visit the FEMA website or contact them directly through the information available therein. FEMA is specifically for emergency and disaster situations and does not typically provide apartment rental assistance for low income situations other than these.

State run housing administration programs


Each state may have a program of its own that may provide alternative assistance to low income earners who are either waitlisted or have not been accepted into the Section 8, 514 or 515 programs above. Examples of state low income housing programs include Michigan's Section 236 program and South Carolina's Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). To find out if a State has a rental assistance program visiting the State Housing Authority may be of assistance.

Municipal, corporate or non-profit low income rental assistance

In addition to Federal and State programs, there may also be additional alternatives to look into. Examples of these include the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) which is made possible through a federal grant program as mentioned on its website called the HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program. Qualification for the Section 8 program does not necessarily qualify one for this and other TBRA low income rental assistance.

Other programs may include County facilitated programs that may help low income earners find rental apartments. An example of this type of program is the Arlington, Virginia Rental Subsidy Program, however the low income earners in this particular program are also required to meet age , disability and/or household criteria. Other programs that may help low income find apartments to rent include the Minority Rental Assistance Program and The New America Foundation Rental Assistance Accounts program.

Finding low income apartments for rent is possible, however some of the programs administered and or paid for by Government agencies such as HUD and/or grants distributed by the Government may have waiting lists or limiting criteria. For persons who fall between the regulatory cracks of these programs additional assistance or resources may be required. Further help finding low income apartments for rent may be obtained by searching and contacting housing assistance centers and organizations such as those mentioned above or additional resources such as the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and organizations not listed in this article.

Image license: Baycrest, CC BY-SA 2.5

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