Affordable Housing Part I: The A, B, Cs
A is Also for Affordable Alternatives
Housing burdened. That’s the diagnosis if you’re paying more than 30% of your household income in rent/utilities. If you’re paying 50% or more, then you’re extremely housing burdened, but you probably already knew that! Whether you’re renting or trying to buy a house, are there options for finding something that fits your budget?
The good news? Yes, many programs help with renting or buying, based on location, income, family size, and other criteria. Their goal is to keep you at/under that 30% benchmark. Habitat for Humanity Lake Sumter is one of them, though we’re a small non-profit rather than a government-funded agency. If you’re hoping to buy a home in Lake or Sumter County, FL, consider starting with us. Review our Home-Ownership Qualification Criteria here: https://habitatls.org/programs/apply/.
For more comprehensive options, explore what’s offered by the Federal government, as noted in the links below; we’re sharing content from these websites as well.
The bad news? Finding the right one takes a lot of time and effort, and there’s often a long waiting list to access these programs.
Renters: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the mothership of programs and information. Start here https://www.hud.gov/topics/rental_assistance and use their links:
- Privately owned subsidized housing – HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Search for an apartment and apply directly at the management office.
- Public Housing – affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. To apply, contact a public housing agency (PHA).
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) – find your own place and use the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a public housing agency.
- HUD Resource Locator – search for HUD field and regional offices, local PHAs, Multifamily and Public Housing locations, homeless coordinated entry system points of contacts, and USDA (Department of Agriculture), which focuses strictly on rural housing
Were you surprised to see the USDA listed? Their programs cover rentals, home purchases, and even repair grants. https://www.usda.gov/topics/rural/housing-assistance
- USDA Rentals: Click on the state and keep going as prompted. https://rdmfhrentals.sc.egov.usda.gov/RDMFHRentals/select_state.jsp
Home Buying: Both HUD and the USDA are good sources for home buying information, guidelines, and financial input. Check these links to learn more:
- HUD: https://www.hud.gov/topics/buying_a_home
- HUD: Housing counseling agencies throughout the USA offer advice on buying or renting, credit issues, and more. https://apps.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
- USDA: Home buying loans for low and very low income people in qualified rural areas: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans
Your turn: Find an affordable apartment for a) your elderly uncle (monthly income $960) or your cousin (a single mom with a pre-schooler, earning $15/hour working 40 hours/week). Rent + utilities cannot exceed 30% of the total monthly income. Using the resources above, find what programs are offered in your area; are they in a city or a rural area? What restrictions apply? Is there a wait list? How long? You have one week to find it…GO! Don’t forget to share what you learned in this process on our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/habitatls/