Learn About Rent Assistance Programs That May Help You Save Money

If you need rent assistance, it is crucial that you review the various federal, state and local programs that may be able to help you. Everyone deserves access to affordable, safe and decent housing, regardless of income. However, with the rising costs of housing, it can feel impossible to make ends meet.

Assistance with rent can be gained through several different programs. However, each program has specific eligibility requirements that must be met for financial aid. While all of these programs are income-based, most programs consist of additional eligibility requirements.

In the event of an emergency where you are at risk of losing your home, additional options could be available to you through your local community. By learning about these opportunities, you will be better prepared in the event of a financial hardship.

You can learn more about the various assistance programs that you might qualify for in the sections below.

Learn About Federal Programs That Provide Assistance Paying Rent

Rent assistance is provided by two notable U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs. If you qualify for benefits through either assistance program, you will be placed on a waiting list unless benefits are available to provide to you immediately.

If you are in need of emergency assistance, it is crucial that you explore other avenues of assistance while on a Section 8 or public housing waiting list. These lists are notoriously long, and you may spend days, months or years on the list before benefits become available.

While these programs work similarly and have similar eligibility requirements, there are crucial differences between these programs that you need to be aware of.

Learn About the Housing Choice Voucher Program

If you need assistance paying rent, you could qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). Also known as Section 8, this federal assistance program provides low and very-low-income families with monthly rental payment assistance.

Housing assistance is paid through housing vouchers that are provided directly to the participating household’s landlord. These vouchers pay a portion of the family’s rent, thus reducing the amount that a household must pay to retain housing each month.

To qualify for rent assistance, your household must either be considered a family or a qualifying senior citizen or disabled resident must reside in the home. To be considered a family, a dependent child must be living within the home.

Additionally, households must meet qualifications related to:

  • Citizenship and immigration status.
  • Income.
  • Rental history.
  • Local factors.

Learn About the Public Housing Program

Rather than provide monetary rent assistance, the Public Housing Program strives to provide low and very-low income households with more affordable housing options. Instead of paying landlords a portion of a household’s rent, the Public Housing Program provides qualifying families with housing options that are owned by the state.

These dwellings are offered at a lower rental cost in comparison to other rentals within the community. In doing so, families have the opportunity to rise from poverty levels and become more self-sufficient.

Like the Housing Choice Voucher Program, public housing is only available to households that contain a senior citizen, a disabled person or a family. Families must have at least one dependent child living within the home to qualify for benefits.

To receive rent assistance through the Public Housing Program, you must also meet qualifications related to:

  • Citizenship and immigration status.
  • Income.
  • Rental history.
  • Local factors.

Learn Where to Turn When You Need Emergency Rent Assistance

If you need emergency rent assistance, it is crucial that you apply for housing assistance and contact your local state agencies about local resources that may be available to you. The resources that are available to you will depend on several factors. However, they primarily depend on where you live and the outreach programs within your community.

Assistance is often available through nonprofit organizations, charitable businesses, church communities and other resources. You can learn more about your local resources, as well as obtain referrals to other programs, by contacting your local:

  • State housing finance agency.
  • Public housing agency (PHA).
  • State human or social services agency.

Your agencies may be able to provide referrals for assistance with rent and security deposit or recommend other forms of assistance programs that you may qualify for to reduce overall monthly household expenses.

Learn About Other Ways to Find Rent Assistance for Single Moms

If you are seeking rent assistance for single moms, you may qualify for several federal and state programs that can help you reduce your monthly expenses as a whole. In doing so, you may have more money to allocate towards the cost of housing.

While each assistance program has its own eligibility requirements that must be met and benefits that are provided, it is worth taking the time to learn more about:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — food assistance.
  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — cash assistance.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) — Food and healthcare assistance.
  • Medicaid —healthcare assistance.
  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) — Utility bills and weatherization assistance.

Learn About Additional Rent Payment Assistance Options for the Elderly

If you are seeking aid with rent as a senior citizen, it is crucial that you utilize Eldercare Locator. Eldercare Locator is a free service that is provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging. This service connects senior citizens with various assistance programs that they may qualify for, including those related to:

  • Housing.
  • Food.
  • Legal services.
  • Healthcare.
  • Transportation.
  • Insurance.

Eldercare Locator can be utilized online or by contacting customer service over the phone. 

Learn How to Find Assistance with Rent as a Veteran

Additional emergency rent assistance options are available to U.S. veterans through a variety of programs that are designed to help reduce homeless veterans. These programs are offered primarily by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and can be applied for online, by mail or by contacting your local VA office.

Your local VA office may also be able to refer you to assistance programs within your community that you may benefit from. These assistance programs may provide housing, food or other types of assistance.