How To Find Rent Assistance

If you want to know how to get low income housing fast, then there are resources available to you. Most neighborhoods have government assistance programs located nearby. The purpose of these programs is to provide aid to individuals or families who have experienced home crises or recent homelessness.

An emergency rental assistance or an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) is a program that assists those who need to find a new home. Depending on the area, the grants can vary and have wider availability within metropolitan and urban counties.

ESG was made to prevent homelessness by providing emergency shelter to those who qualify. Each state has its own operations, most rental assistance programs will require an individual to pay no more than 30 percent of his or her adjusted income. The states and counties will determine eligibility based on income limits.

In the case of being ineligible for ESG or any other emergency rental assistance program, you can try looking for referrals through community outreach programs. The Department of Veterans Affairs or other local nonprofits can also provide rental assistance. Read on to find out more about your local emergency rental assistance program and how to apply for them.

Learn About Finding Emergency Rental Assistance

Often, low-income tenants may tell themselves, “I need help paying my rent today.” There are times when unexpected life events can cause the loss of a home or cause impending homelessness.

The area you live in will determine the number of programs available to you. These programs can be part of three categories, which are as follows:

  1. Transitional housing program – This type of program can provide households with a home for up to 24 months. It also provides other support services besides housing such as emergency rental assistance, utility bills, security deposit and other services. These extra services help families transition into independent living. 
  2. Permanent housing program – This type of housing program is for families and individuals that need long-term housing.
  3. Permanent supportive housing program – This program is for those who are disabled and homeless. There are also services available to assist with the permanent transition.

Most areas will have three types of affordable rental housing that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports. Here are the types of housing:

  • Public housing – These homes are affordable houses and apartments for low-income households as well as elderly individuals and individuals who are disabled.
  • Privately owned subsidized housingRental properties are not owned by HUD. Instead, landlords receive grants from HUD. These landlords must be willing to subsidize rent for low-income tenants. These landlords may also provide housing to those seeking emergency rental assistance programs.
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)It is feasible to find rental properties in this program, however, the process for getting approved for these voucher programs is much longer. In this case, you must notify your local public housing agency (PHA) about your need for emergency rental assistance before completing an application for this program. 

Whether you have emergency rental assistance or not, you must always contact your local PHA directly. The PHA can guide you through the policies they have for this type of assistance and how you can become eligible.

Resources for Housing Voucher Programs

Who Qualifies for Assistance

You must have specific information at the ready to give the PHA representative. The PHA will use this information to determine your eligibility.

You will need to provide your personal contact information, family size, any disabilities and other relevant information. Alongside your personal information, you must provide information for each household member as well such as:

  • The full names of each family member.
  • The birthdates of all members.
  • Social Security numbers (SSNs) of all members.
  • Income for all members who are eligible for work.

The local governments will provide these assistance programs specifically for those people. Program representatives categorized applicants accordingly:

  • The household is homeless
  • The household faces an imminent risk of homelessness
  • The household currently lives in government housing
  • The household is currently paying more than 50 percent of their gross towards rent
  • The household has children, elderly people and/or people with disabilities
  • A disabled or an elderly individual
  • Involuntarily displace household

PHAs look through these factors of applicants in the neighborhood. Every jurisdiction will set their own income limit guidelines and are responsible for screening applicants.

Most public housing programs will place applicants on a waiting list. But emergency rental assistance programs should attend to your housing needs immediately.

Learn About Low Income Apartments — No Waiting List Required

Local government agencies can provide cheap apartments for rent, although they do not exclusively provide them. If you are facing imminent homelessness and need rental assistance, then you must contact your local PHA immediately. Because these programs are federally run, they are required to keep some low-cost rental properties available for those with an emergency.

The main requirement for eligibility for emergency rental assistance is meeting the median income limit, which will vary depending on the local government agency. There may be extra requirements you need to meet that have been determined by the property owner. 

You must meet several requirements that are similar to the requirements for the programs previously listed. Additionally, you are required to provide your citizenship status. In most cases, U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens may receive aid.

You can search online to find homes for low-income tenants who are eligible for emergency rental assistance. An alternative for government assistance is contacting community outreach programs to see if they provide the right housing. Some phrases that can help you on your internet search are “cheap apartments near me” and “cheap apartments for rent near me.” 

When speaking with the representatives for these programs, make sure to ask about other grants and programs available through the landlords. If you need the information about your local PHA, then you may contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development either by phone or online. They can provide you with contact information of the PHA in your area so you can start the application process.