Resources and ArticlesHousing costs are the single largest financial burden on the American family. Low-income families are the hardest hit: the average low-income household spent 40% of their income on housing in 2014, and low-income renters spent close to 50%. Combined with costs for transportation, food, groceries and other necessities, this spending can impose a tremendous stress level on households, with parents working multiple jobs and often leaving their children unsupervised just to pay the rent or mortgage. For many families, eviction, foreclosure, and homelessness are imminent threats. Families that are trying to move up into better living situations encounter the obstacle of poor credit ratings left from struggles years in the past.
There are bright spots in this picture. The Federal Government spends roughly $50 billion a year on programs designed to help low-income families manage housing problems, with $18 billion going to Housing Choice Vouchers, $12 billion to Project-based Rental Assistance, and $7 billion to Public Housing. These programs provide essential help for millions of Americans, but many people who are eligible for help never receive it, often because they don't know they are eligible and are not aware of the programs and the procedures needed to use them. Lack of information and knowledge is a critical obstacle to the full use of government assistance.
Information and knowledge are also vital for those who are not eligible for government assistance. Most Americans reach adulthood without ever having been taught the basics of financial management and with little or no knowledge of the complex mechanics of buying a house or even renting an apartment. Many mistakes that are sometimes blamed on irresponsibility trace back to the simple lack of awareness. Many vital life skills and much necessary practical knowledge are not taught in schools and are often not learned at home either, and we can't blame people for not knowing what they were never taught!
My Affordable Housing Guide seeks to bridge this knowledge gap by presenting clear, practical information on the steps that low to moderate-income Americans can take to get better housing without breaking their budgets. From navigating the complex world of government assistance to helpful hints on home purchase, maintenance, and renting, we supply the information you need to keep up in today's rapidly evolving housing landscape.
We've divided these resources into useful categories to help you find what you need. If there's something you think we've missed, let us know!
Housing AssistanceSpecial Voucher & Disability Programs – Programs are available to help people in vulnerable categories find and keep acceptable housing. Special voucher programs serve veterans, the disabled, and those who fall under other categories in need of assistance.
Section 8 Realities – Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers have helped millions of Americans move into better neighborhoods and give their families a better life. Find out how the program works and whether you are eligible for benefits.
Housing Grant Program Realities - Housing Grants are hard to get, but they do exist, especially for special categories like the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and others. Learn more about these programs and about who is eligible for housing grants.
Public Housing Program Realities – Public housing has a bad reputation, but it's not entirely deserved. Many projects are in good condition, and residents report high levels of satisfaction. Learn how public housing can give you an affordable base for building financial stability.
Public Housing Authority Realities – Your local Public Housing Agency is the gateway to almost all government funded housing programs, including some that can provide you with subsidized (or even free) rent. Here's what you need to know.
Help For RentersGuide To Affordable Renting – Millions of American families spend more than half their income on rent. Avoid that trap with this handy guide to getting the best rental deals.
Top Ten Places To Find Housing Online – Like everything else these days, finding a new house begins online. Here are some great places to start looking!
Rent-to-Own: Fiction Or Fact – Rent-to-own deals can be an effective way to buy a house without a huge down payment. Not all deals are created equal, though, and you'll need to be aware of the pros and cons and the potential pitfalls.
Eviction Assistance Guide - An eviction is a traumatic event, but you do have rights, and nobody can just throw you out of your home. There's a process involved, and that can work for you. Here's what to do.
Save On Renter's Insurance - If you rent an apartment, your landlord's insurance will not cover your property in the event of a robbery, fire, or another disaster. If you own more than you can afford to lose, renter's insurance might be a worthwhile purchase.
How To Deal With A Bad Landlord - You have the legal right to an apartment that does not compromise your family's health and safety. If your apartment needs repairs to keep it livable, your landlord must make those repairs at no cost to you. If that's not happening, here's what you can do.
Help For BuyersBuying A House With Bad Credit – A bad credit rating can make it difficult to finance a home, even if your rating is suffering from events years ago or just from a short credit history. Bad credit doesn't mean you can't buy a home. These hints will tell you how.
FHA & Affordable Home Loans – Buying a home means borrowing money: almost nobody can afford to pay in cash! Getting the best possible loan terms can make the difference between an affordable purchase and a budget-breaker.
Buying Foreclosures & HUD Homes – Buying a foreclosed home, whether purchased from a private institution or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is one of the cheapest ways to become a homeowner. It's not easy, but this handy guide will explain the process.
Guide To Affordable Home Purchase – Buying a home is the biggest financial commitment most of us will ever make. It's a complicated process, and getting it right can cut your costs by thousands of dollars. Check out these money-saving tips!
Help For OwnersGuide To Affordable Home Ownership – Owning a home is a blessing, but it can also be a burden, especially when the numerous costs add up at the wrong time. Use this guide for helpful tips on keeping home ownership affordable.
Home Refinance Guide – Refinancing can help you improve the terms of your mortgage, but it's not the right move in every case. This guide will help you decide if refinancing will help you!
Loans For Home Repairs & Improvements – Keeping your home in good condition and making regular improvements is a great way to build the value of your most valuable asset. Repairs and improvements are expensive, so you'll want to check this guide to affordable, accessible financing.
Foreclosure Assistance Guide - Foreclosure is one of the most traumatic events that any homeowner can face. A foreclosure proceeding doesn't mean you are going to lose your home, but you need to act immediately and make the right moves. Here's where to start.
Authority SitesOur goal is to assist you in your search for help with educational information on a wide variety of subjects all conveniently found in one place. However, we strongly suggest you visit HUD.gov to stay updated on the latest programs and their requirements. We also recommend searching for your state's specific website and contacting your local HA.
We Want To Hear From YouWe thank you for visiting this site. If you found programs that ended up working (or not working) for you and your family please let us know. If you are seeking help and didn't find a guide or article that provided details on your specific topic of interest please let us know. Write us at feed[email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.
1. "Household Expenditures and Income" . PewTrusts.org