Your eligibility for rental assistance programs typically depends on your income. If you make too much money to participate in a government rental assistance program, like the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, you may be wondering how to find affordable housing.
Millions of Americans need help with rent, especially those living in areas with extremely high housing costs. But low-income housing may not be available for folks with incomes too high to qualify.
Does this sound like you? You may be relieved to learn that getting cheap housing is not always about moving into a public housing development or receiving vouchers. In fact, you may be able to remain in your current residence and change a few things about your living arrangements.
One way to lower your living expenses is to find a roommate. Living with another person can help with rent because you would be sharing the cost of living. Having a roommate can greatly reduce your rent, utility and grocery bills.
Do you know anyone who is interested in moving out? They could be friends, family members or even neighbors.
If you are having trouble finding a roommate, consider using one or more of the following online platforms to post or respond to advertisements:
Another way to find cheap housing is to consider looking outside your current area. If you live in an expensive neighborhood, moving just a few miles away could reduce your rent by $100s.
Affordable apartments may be more widely available in suburban or rural areas, where the cost of living is not as high. Of course, you must consider the tradeoffs. You may need to commute further for work or school and may sacrifice some amenities.
Consider speaking to your landlord about your rental situation. You could get help with rent in exchange for doing some work around the property. Your landlord may be willing to lower your rent if you offer to:
- Repaint the interior.
- Manage the yard or lawn.
- Make minor repairs.
You could even take it step further and offer to perform a few duties of building manager. This includes collecting rent from other tenants, posting advertisements regarding vacant units and handling requests from tenants.
Building managers often get cheap housing or even receive a free unit in the building, depending on the amount of work they put in. If you have the time and the interest, becoming a manager for your building could greatly reduce your rental costs.