FINDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES
There are several programs dedicated to helping low-income Texas residents get financial assistance for housing. Most of these programs are invested in ensuring that low-income Texas families are able to live in clean, safe housing that they may not have otherwise been able to afford. While some of these programs are offered by the United States government, there are also many nonprofit organizations that are just as effective at helping families in need find a home. All of these housing assistance programs use income to determine eligibility.
Section 8 Housing Assistance is a federal government assistance program that provides housing to low income families at a drastically reduced rate. Beneficiaries are given a voucher to be used towards obtaining housing in Section 8 approved neighborhoods. The voucher covers part of the cost of rent and the Section 8 beneficiaries are responsible for remainder of the rent cost, should there be any. Once the petitioner finds housing, a representative of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will inspect the property to make sure the property meets the program’s safety regulations. If the Section 8 housing request is approved, the petitioner will be able to live there for a low, affordable price. Not all cities in Texas accept Section 8 vouchers. Section 8 assistance is given on a first come, first serve basis. Local public housing agencies in Texas accept Section 8 applications each year until there are no more spots available. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is obligated to give at least 75% of Section 8 approval to families who have a combined gross income that is under 30% of the median household income in Texas. To be eligible for Section 8 in the state of Texas, a petitioner must be a legal, in-state resident and meet the income requirements. The petitioner also has to be part of a family, meaning that the petitioner cannot apply for Section 8 housing to live alone. A family must either have at least one member who is either a minor, elderly, or disabled.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also has programs that may be helpful for low-income Texas families to afford cheaper housing. HUD provides an abundance of resources for Texans looking for housing assistance and counseling. Some of HUD’s services include housing assistance resources for elderly and disabled individuals, counseling for low-income families interested in purchasing a house, Section 8 information, and providing external resources for subsidized local housing. Although the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not have programs that will help families directly like Section 8, it still provides plenty of information on how to find affordable housing and resources on learning how to pay for a home.
There are also a multitude of nonprofit affordable housing organizations in Texas. Because nonprofit organizations do not receive government assistance through taxpayers’ money, many of these programs are able to provide affordable housing for low-income families through donations, lobbying, and general networking. Some nonprofit organizations offer programs that can give money directly to the petitioner to help pay for housing, as long as the petitioner meets the organization’s eligibility qualifications. Nonprofit housing organizations may also be able to provide services to supplement Section 8 housing assistance.