Housing security is a serious issue in the U.S. In fact, almost half a million Americans live on the streets, and according to the bi-monthly surveys from the Census Bureau, an estimated 3.7 million people experienced a form of housing insecurity in 2021. Additionally, about 7.7 million adults admitted to being behind on their rent.
If you are having trouble paying for rent, there are several federal and state programs available to help you keep your home. Learn more about this below.
Section 8 Housing
One of the biggest (if not the biggest) rental assistance programs in the U.S. is Section 8. The Housing Choice Voucher (HVC) program is a housing assistance program funded by the federal government and administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that helps millions of low-income families find affordable housing.
To qualify for rental assistance you must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant and apply to the local public housing authority (PHA) in the area you live in. You will also need to meet income requirements. If you do qualify, you can get coverage for up to 70% of the cost of your rent.
However, keep in mind that due to the demand for this program, you may be placed on a waiting list for some time. This will depend on your personal circumstances.
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program also provides renters the possibility of owning their own home through the HCV Homeownership Program. You will need to meet specific requirements including not owning a home yet, and apply through your local PHA. depending on the area you live in, you may need to pick a home in a specific size, price or neighborhood.
The length of time for which you can receive financial assistance depends on your mortgage: for mortgages that last more than 20 years, you can receive 15 years of assistance; if they last less than 20 years, you could get up to 10 years of assistance.
VA Rental Assistance Program
If you are a veteran, you may be able to request rental assistance from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Known as HUD-VASH, this program helps veterans and their families find affordable housing and also provides access to therapy and other health care services.
HUD-VASH provides assistance through housing vouchers which cover the rental costs. To qualify for this program, you must have served in the U.S. military and have been homeless or have serious substance abuse issues. You must also meet the qualifications for VA healthcare.
Contact your local public housing authority (PHA) to learn more about the program and any additional requirements you might need to meet.