Housing costs make up a huge part of our budget. The federal government provides funds through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which you may recognize as Section 8. The program pays for a portion of your rent directly to the landlord, leaving you with a discounted monthly rent payment. With Section 8, you will only have to pay about one third of your monthly income for rent. The rest will be covered.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help cover your heating and cooling costs. The federal government issues grants to states and the local government oversees the issuance of benefits. Since states run the LIHEAP program, the eligibility regulations vary from area to area. Some places only provide one type of benefit, such as Colorado offering only heating benefits and Puerto Rico offering only cooling benefits.
The Lifeline program provides discounted telephone and internet services. The government will pay for a portion of your bill each month that you qualify for assistance. To qualify, you must meet income requirements and get services from a participating provider. You can usually qualify if you meet the requirements of some other government benefits, like food stamps.
The Rural House Repair Loans and Grants program provides funds to rural-area owners who need assistance improving their homes. This program is also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program.
You might qualify for funding if you meet the following requirements:
- You are 62 years old.
- You have an income below 50 percent of your area.
- You cannot obtain an affordable credit line.
- You are a homeowner who lives in the house.
With this program, you may receive up to $20,000 in loans and up to $7,500 in grants. You may also combine the grant and loans maximum.
Many states have grants for first-time homebuyers that help reduce down payment requirements, closing costs, and interest charges. For example, most homebuyers need to put 20 percent of the purchase price down to qualify for a loan.
With these local government-backed programs, you might be able to purchase a home for zero to six percent down. These first time homebuyer programs allow people to become homeowners who otherwise face obstacles to homeownership.
Besides helping pay for shelter and utilities, the government also has programs to cover a portion of your living costs, like food and health care. Continue to the next slide to learn more about other helpful government programs.