Reprint from
Daily Prosper

It can be a burden to deal with overly expensive housing. Affordable housing is defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the tenant paying no more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Housing costs aren’t just the price of rent, but for all housing costs like utilities as well. Unfortunately, a lot of households do not have affordable housing. They end up paying over 30% of their income towards housing which can lead to people becoming cost-burdened. Luckily, there are many housing assistance opportunities available that can help those in need.

Popular Housing Assistance Opportunities

When people find themselves dealing with housing costs that are too high, then they may need to look at different ways to improve their situation. One popular way is with assistance programs that are designed to help eligible Americans get housing aid.

There are a variety of housing programs available from a local, state, and federal level. These programs can provide housing assistance opportunities to eligible applicants. Public housing properties are typically apartment complexes. However, they can also be a series of duplex homes, or a cluster of private houses. In essence, it depends on the area you are in. Furthermore, HUD is the one that funds these complexes. While the HUD may fund this housing, your local public housing authority (PHA) will manage the complexes. If you want to move into public housing, then you will have to:

  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Pass a background check. (May need references.)
  • Be a citizen or have an eligible immigration status.
  • Get in touch with your local PHA.

Additionally, there are currently 1.3 million households living in public housing. Unfortunately, there are still many people who are eligible to receive public housing assistance. Given that, there isn’t enough supply of housing to accommodate for how many people need help (which is why there is currently an affordable housing crisis). With this in mind, that is why this assistance option generally has long waitlists.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

This is a popular housing assistance option amongst people in need. This program provides approved applicants a voucher that can be used towards the costs of housing. Unfortunately, even if you are able to receive a housing voucher, you may not be able to use them everywhere. There is no law that specifies that properties must accept this form of payment (however the government offers tax incentives for landlords as a way to encourage more landlords to accept these types of rent repayment). This means that only properties that accept them as a form of payment are where you can use them. If you are interested in section 8 assistance you must:

  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Find an approved section 8 property.
  • Have the landlord approve your application.

Sadly, this assistance also has long waitlists so it is important to get on them as soon as possible. The application process is free so you should try to begin it sooner rather than later.

Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program

There are many different groups of Americans that can find themselves struggling with managing their housing, especially due to the pandemic. One group that can struggle is the elderly. That is why the federal government implemented the Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. This program can provide low-income seniors that are at least 62 years old an opportunity for housing support.

Home Investment Partnership Program

Even though there are a variety of programs available to help with the costs of housing, it still isn’t enough to solve the affordable housing crisis. There is too much demand and not enough supply. That is why government programs also aim at not only providing assistance to those that need help, but also providing assistance to encourage the creation of more affordable housing. The Home Investment Partnership program gives formula grants to localities and states to provide the funding needed to build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing.

There are plenty of housing programs that can help. That is why the best place to start looking for housing assistance is at the local public housing authority (PHA). However, there are other forms of assistance that can still be beneficial! Specialized low-income housing loans can provide easy to manage financing opportunities for those struggling.

Rural Homeownership Direct Loan Program

The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is an agency that lies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides this assistance option. They are able to create loans for qualifying low income households to be used towards building, repairing, or renovating rural homes. The loan funds can even be used towards relocating a home to a rural area. This is one of the  housing assistance  programs that actually  includes mobile homes and/or manufactured homes as well! These plans have no down payment requirement and have interest rates subsidized.

Rural Rental Housing Loans

This is a loan opportunity that is able to provide mortgage loans to qualifying families and individuals. These loans are direct, and competitive so they can provide a huge benefit when it comes to obtaining affordable housing. While the loans are generally used to go towards a mortgage they are also able to go towards buying and/or improving land, water, and waste disposal systems.

Farm Labor Housing Loans 

This is a loan option that provides funds to buy, build, improve, or repair housing specifically for farm laborers. This even includes those in aqua farming like those with fish and oyster farms, as well as individuals involved in on-farm processing. Loans can be provided to farmers, family farm corporations, Native American tribes, non-profit organizations, farm worker associations, and more.

Alternative Options 

Additionally, other common sources of housing assistance opportunities come from charities. Not only charities, but as well as state or local programs. Usually, charities provide qualifying recipients funds in the form of one-time assistance. These funds will go towards housing costs like a security deposit. State and local programs have a huge variety of assistance. This assistance can come in numerous forms but may include emergency housing, free financial housing counseling, and more. All programs vary depending on the area you are in. That is why the local PHA is such a useful tool. Your local PHA will be able to provide you information about available assistance opportunities from a local, state, and federal level.

Mixed-Income Housing

There are many forms of housing assistance. Mixed-income housing is another popular option for help and is privately-owned. Property management companies or private landlords are the ones who own this type of property. Tax incentives are then offered to these properties as a way to encourage properties to provide affordable housing. If these properties want to receive their tax credit, they must have a specific number of units offered at a reduced rate. The cost of rent for these reduced rate units varies depending on the property. If you are interested in qualifying for mixed income housing you need to:

  • Pass a background check. (May need references.)
  • Satisfy your area’s financial qualifications.
  • Meet the landlord’s rental eligibility.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

This is a grant program that is able to provide housing funds for qualified low-income individuals that have also been diagnosed with AIDS or other related illnesses. Recipients of HOPWA  can use the funds towards social services, program planning, costs of housing, and development costs.

Farm Labor Housing Grants

These grants have the potential to cover up to 90% of the development costs of housing which include construction costs, repair costs, day care facilities, household furnishings, construction loan interest, and more! Similar to the Farm Labor Housing loans, these grants can be awarded to farmers, family farm corporations, Native American tribes, non-profit organizations, farm worker associations, etc.

Capital Magnet Funds

The treasury department offers this grant opportunity. Qualified non-profit housing organizations and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) can compete to receive financial assistance towards eligible households. These funds can be used towards creating loan opportunities, providing loan guarantees, and more. The idea is that this grant program can provide incentive for private capital to enter certain dilapidated areas.

The Opportunity Zones Tax Incentives

This tax incentive option was created in 2017 as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. There are three types of incentives that investors have the opportunity to benefit from. These are:

  • Temporary Deferral
  • Step-Up In Basis
  • Permanent Exclusion

Regardless of which tax incentive is given, they all aim to reduce or defer the total amount that tax investors are required to pay for their capital gains.

How to Apply for Housing Assistance

The application is not the same for every area. Some states allow online applications. On the other hand, others only allow mail-in applications. Luckily, your local PHA will provide you all the information you need when submitting your application. The documentation you need will vary as well. However, common forms of documentation that people should have handy include:

  • Social security numbers for everyone in the household.
  • Your state-issued I.D. or driver’s license.
  • A copy of your recent bank statements.
  • Recent pay stubs.
  • A copy of your current lease agreement.

What to Do if You Don’t Qualify for Assistance?

If you can’t qualify for housing assistance then you will need to look for other ways to reduce the costs of housing. You may need to make some serious lifestyle changes like downsizing your housing situation or relocating to a less expensive area.

Downsize Your Housing Situation

You may need to make some drastic changes to see real reduction in the cost of housing. This can include downsizing your home or your housing situation. If you have a home that has a spare bedroom then downsizing and finding a housing option that has less space may be the best decision. If you don’t want to reduce the size of your home you can still “downsize your housing situation” by getting a roommate to split the costs of housing with. Another person to help handle your bills could potentially reduce the amount you have to pay by half!

Relocate to a Less Expensive Area

Not every area costs the same to live in. Los Angeles, CA will be drastically more expensive than some rural town in Kentucky. Obviously the change may not need to be that drastic but it can benefit to look at relocating your home. When looking at other areas to live in, you need to consider other aspects like the commute to work, the school system of the area if you have children, etc.


There are a variety of assistance options available from housing benefit programs, housing loans, and other alternative options like grants. While figuring out an affordable housing situation can be difficult, it is important to educate yourself, remain calm, and find a housing option that works within your budget. The best place to start looking is at your local PHA. There you can review all of the opportunities that are available from a local, state, and federal level. What you may be able to receive in your area may be different from another area.


I have functioned as a Business and Media Consultant over the past sixteen years and spent many years developing my capacity to function in our ever evolving use of technology, communication, education and training.