Rental Assistance Options
April 08, 2016 governmentgrants.info Staff
A lot of people have been negatively impacted by today's tough economic times and are having difficulty paying their rent. Luckily, there are a variety of rental assistance options available to those people who need it. These can be found at both local and national levels, through nonprofits and charities, and even from the government itself. Some of these options will directly assist people with rent or financial help, while some of the others offer help to people when signing up for other programs or as referrals.
Let's take a look at some of the different places you can find rental assistance options.
Rental Assistance Options at the State Level
There are a variety of local government options that actively provide public assistance to people in the form of rent assistance, paying for security deposits, and also a number of other forms of housing assistance. In order to receive help from these places, make sure to contact your local assistance programs and agencies to get help with rent or resources. There are also over 1,100 community action agencies set up across the country to help people determine what all government services they qualify for.
The Federal Stimulus Program
The federal stimulus program has provided billions of dollars specifically for rental and housing assistance under The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. The majority of this money is distributed through local governments with applications being processed through social service agencies, charities, county level governments, and other various organizations.
Rental Assistance Options through Federal Governmental Organizations
One of the largest rental assistance options available is the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. It's already being used by nearly 1,500,000 families across the country that need help when it comes to putting down security deposits and help paying their rent. There are other costs that can be paid as well, such as energy bills or for heating/air-conditioning. The targets of this program are primarily low income earners such as the disabled and the elderly. Aside from simply helping with rent, the Rental Voucher Program also increases the overall availability of choices when it comes to housing by giving families the ability to choose privately owned rental options.
Getting an eviction notice can often surprise people and make it seem like there isn't anything that can be done immediately. There are a variety of emergency programs in place to prevent evictions that can be accessed quickly by low and moderate income families and individuals. The majority of these programs are aimed specifically at preventing widespread homelessness by directly preventing evictions, foreclosures, and the associated lawsuits. They do this in a number of ways, such as providing tenant and landlord assessments, mediation options, direct grants or rent payments on behalf of renters, conflict resolution, as well as a number of other things. Even if the agency cannot prevent the eviction itself, they are often able to quickly find people housing that's more affordable.
Local Options and Charities
If you need some short term assistance, such as if you only need to get through a monthly payment of rent or two, then local community and charity options are often best. These local options will often pay out the housing cost, rent, or even pay for security deposits for a new home. There are often a number of options in any community, such as churches, community groups, or charitable organizations. Two large examples include United Way and the Salvation Army, which will often help people with rent when they do have the funds available. Priority in these cases is given to those with a short term financial crisis. In addition to directly helping with rent, they will often provide referrals to other services and help with overall management.
There are also many organizations that can help with other housing costs like heating or air conditioning bills and other utilities. The way these organizations are set up is often on a first come first served basis or as a onetime payment, meaning they are often not a good option if you're needing more long term housing or rental assistance support. Even if you're currently a member of their group, simply calling them can often quickly get you the assistance you need to get through your short term housing difficulties.
Concrete examples of these sorts of options include United Way, the Salvation Army, the Legal Aid Society, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and any local churches, although local churches are often heavily dependent upon its congregation's spending, which means funding can be limited.
Creditors and Landlords
Before applying for rental assistance options, an important first step to take is to contact your landlord or your creditors. Tell them what's going on and why you may be having trouble making payments. Be upfront and honest with them and you may be able to negotiate for a lower temporary payment or some sort of an installment plan that can be paid on until you can get back on your feet. Oftentimes, it's in the creditor's or landlord's best interest to help you rather than having to go through an eviction process and look for a new renter entirely.