Many people spend the majority of their income on their housing and transportation needs. Sorting through the listings for available homes and apartments can feel overwhelming. The available housing is often expensive and may not offer enough space. Here are a few tips for exploring low-income housing options.
Available properties are not always easy to spot by driving by. Make a list of at least three different neighborhoods or nearby cities to search in. Doing an internet search with the neighborhood or city name with one of the following terms: low-income tax credit apartments, HUD, public assistance housing, family low-income apartments, affordable senior housing, non-profit housing, etc. These specific internet searches will reveal additional low-income housing options. If there are no current openings, consider looking in neighboring cities and towns.
Once an area is selected take time to see which type of help the property offers. Some types of low-income housing only require that applicants not make over a certain amount each month. Each property will have different rules and restrictions for all residents. Reading over their expectations is a great way to know if it will fit into the lifestyle of the family. Some properties only accept seniors, families, and some have a strict no pet policy. Consider changing the number of bedrooms required, by putting multiple children in one bedroom with bunk beds. Singles or couples may be able to find an affordable studio apartment if no affordable one-bedroom apartments are available.
Other heavily subsided apartments are usually part of the public assistance program sponsored by state and federal programs. The application process may seem a bit intrusive and the list in some areas can be very long. They will request all income sources, bank balances, and to know if anything of value is owned. Examples are vehicles, property, land, and retirement accounts. Having assets does not automatically disqualify the application, but the rate of rent may be more than applicants with no assets. Public housing will always be the most affordable but is not always available for months or years. Some cities have temporarily closed their public housing waiting lists because they couldn't meet demands made by local residents.
If finances allow, consider properties that have a short or no waiting list. Being flexible with the type of home or apartment chosen is important. Consider neighborhoods that are outside of personal preference, but safe and works with current transportation needs. Take action as soon as you need low-income housing.