Do you need help with rent or utility bills? You are not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a financial burden on millions of families across the country. You could qualify for emergency rental assistance and utility bill aid to help you get back on your feet. In fact, government rental assistance could help pay for up to 70% of your monthly rent and utility expenses.
Rental assistance is available from federal and state government programs as well as non-profit organizations. If you need help paying rent, heating costs or cooling costs, it is important to explore all your options for receiving aid. Continue reading the sections below to learn more about these programs and how to apply today.
When it comes to rental assistance programs in the United States, perhaps none is as large as Section 8. Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HVC) program, this federally-funded housing assistance program helps millions of low-income, elderly and disabled Americans find safe, affordable housing.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees this rental assistance program, which provides housing vouchers that can be used to pay a portion of rent. Those who qualify for assistance can use these vouchers to rent a home of their choice, provided the home is acceptable and approved by the local public housing authority (PHA).
PHAs manage the Section 8 housing assistance program locally. They are located throughout the country and are responsible for all aspects of the application, qualification and placement processes.
To qualify for the Section 8 rental assistance program, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen or legal immigrant residing in the U.S.
- Apply to a PHA in the state in which you live.
- Meet income requirements.
If you qualify for this renters relief program, you could receive vouchers to cut your rental costs by up to 70%. This means that you would only need to pay roughly 30% of your monthly income toward your living expenses.
Note that the demand for rental assistance is tremendous. More than likely, you will be placed on a waiting list with your local PHA, which could last for several months – even years. Depending on your personal situation, however, you could be given priority for a Section 8 unit.
For example, applicants with extremely low incomes or those who are most at risk of homelessness may receive priority on the waiting list.
HUD houses for rent are located throughout the country. You don’t always need to apply with the PHA closest to where you live. Some PHAs may have a shorter waiting list, in which case it would be best to apply there. Veterans and their families who need help with rent may qualify for a different government assistance program that operates similarly to Section 8. Continue to the next slide to learn more about this veteran-specific program.