In these tough economic times, many people are in need of low cost or low-income housing options. The federal government and many local government programs offer assistance to individuals and families who need affordable housing. The application process for low-income housing can be arduous and time consuming. Be prepared to provide proof of income and expect to be put on a waiting list to rent an apartment.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers rental assistance programs. One option is searching for privately owned subsidized housing. HUD provides subsidies for apartment owners who to rent to low-income families. You can search for these types of apartments on HUD.gov. Select your state in the drop down box to find specific properties and then apply directly with the apartment's management office. You must meet income requirements.
You can also apply for HUD's Housing Choice, or Section 8, vouchers that pay for all or some of the rent. Apartment owners agree to rent to low-income individuals and families with this program and families pay the difference of the landlord's federal subsidy. You must search for a landlord who accepts these vouchers. Websites such as Affordable Housing Online provides Section 8 landlord listings as well as a way to search for apartments in your state. Apply for the vouchers through your local Public Housing Agency. The public housing agency needs information about your income, assets and the members of your family to determine how much assistance you are eligible to receive. You may be put on a waiting list to receive the assistance.
Public housing is another option for low-income renters. Public housing is usually available for families, the elderly and for those with disabilities. You must apply through your local Housing Authority office. Provide information about your income, the members of your family, your employer, and provide documentation such as birth certificates and tax returns. You may have to meet a housing authority representative for an interview and you may be put on a waiting list for housing.
Local and state governments may also provide their own assistance for low-income renters. Contact your local housing authority for information about these programs. Local charities and nonprofits may also provide assistance to individuals and families.
Check out the apartment and the surrounding area before you rent. Drive around the neighborhood before applying to determine that the building is secure and the neighborhood is safe for you and your family.