The average cost of a two-bedroom rental in the United States is just shy of $900 a month. There is no longer a state anywhere in America where a person working 40 hours a week and earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rental. This disparity between income and the price of housing leaves many people struggling to find a place to live that they can afford. Fortunately, there are programs to help low-income earners find housing.
1. Housing Choice Vouchers
Housing choice vouchers, also known as section 8, is a program administered by the federal Housing and Urban Development department. Landlords meeting HUD criteria may accept housing choice vouchers from renters through this program. Renters can choose their own home, as long as the home meets safety standards. The government pays the landlord the amount of money specified in the housing voucher and the renter is responsible for paying any difference. Apartments, townhouses and single-family homes are eligible for this program. Voucher amounts vary based on the renter’s income, family composition and the average cost of rent in the area.
2. Public Housing
Public housing options are administered by your local public housing authority. Public housing may be apartments, townhouses or single-family homes and eligibility is based upon gross annual income. The housing agency may contact past landlords and visit renter’s current homes to determine whether the renter is a suitable tenant. In addition to the income requirement, applicants must be a family, senior citizen or person with a disability and must be a citizen of the United States.
3. Privately Owned Subsidized Housing
The government provides some landlords with funds specifically to provide low-income rentals. To qualify for this housing, you must meet both the rental guidelines of the landlord and the income limits for your size family.