If you need help with rent or are looking for ways to pay for your living expenses, you may qualify for one or more government aid programs. Rental assistance is available from the U.S. government and helps millions of American families each year. These housing assistance programs are designed to ease the burden of rental costs for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.
You may qualify for rental assistance programs based on your income, employment status and other factors. Many of these programs are provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. The department provides emergency housing assistance, standard housing aid and other types of benefit programs for those in need. Continue reading to learn more about rental relief and how you could get free money from the government or other sources.
There is no shame in needing help with rent; housing costs in the U.S. have been rapidly rising for years, putting millions of families at risk of losing their homes. If you need rental assistance, you could qualify for one or more aid programs from the federal or state government or charity organizations.
These programs were created for those who need help paying rent and are at risk of becoming homeless. Emergency housing assistance is available for renters who are about to be evicted due to nonpayment, while standard housing relief can help individuals get back on their feet.
Regardless of the type of housing assistance you need, here are four programs that could help you pay a portion of your housing costs:
Housing Choice Voucher Program
One of the largest rental assistance programs in the United States is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, or Section 8. This program is managed by HUD and helps millions of low-income, elderly and disabled Americans afford their rent each year.
Section 8 houses for rent are offered at much lower rental rates than regular units, helping low-income renters find safe and sanitary housing. However, the demand for this type of housing is extremely high; even if you qualify for Section 8, you will likely be placed on a waiting list until a unit becomes available.
If you believe you qualify for rental assistance through Section 8, apply as soon as possible with your local public housing authority (PHA).
Continuum of Care (CoC)
This rental assistance program focuses on preventing and ending homelessness for Americans across the country. It is also managed by HUD and provides free legal counseling to tenants who are at risk of losing their homes. Depending on availability, participants may also receive Emergency Solutions Grants (ESGs) that can be used to pay rent.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
If you are struggling to pay your rent or utility bills due to hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may qualify for this aid program. Each state offers emergency housing assistance, though it may go by different names.
This rental assistance program works similarly to the Section 8 program. However, those who qualify cannot choose their own home as they could with Section 8; instead, the PHA provides the home.