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Opportunities Homes 101

Affordable Housing Programs from the Federal Government

Finding affordable housing these days is fairly difficult, and low-income families have gotten the short end of the stick in today’s housing market, as valid options for their financial circumstances have practically disappeared from the market. 

That being said, help is definitely available, and cities provide assistance to families in need of funding for housing purposes, although the majority of this help comes from the federal government’s programs. 

We’ve compiled a list of some of the better-known programs out there and what you’ll have to do to make use of them, including a quick rundown of the application process and the eligibility requirements that have to be met. 

From public housing programs to Section 8 vouchers, affordable housing assistance comes in a number of different forms, and all you’ve got to do is find an option that is best suited for your needs and financial situation.


Apart from the programs you may have already heard of, the Department of Housing and Urban Development funds a number of different programs, each with its own target demographic. 

The majority of these programs focus on specific activities and goals for these needy Americans, providing them with support in finding affordable housing that won’t be a burden on their finances.

On top of this, the HUD isn’t the only one that funds these programs, and other departments of the federal government also offer support, including the Department of Agriculture, which funds programs that offer initiatives for relocating families to rural areas. 

Other times, the HHS will partner with the HUD in providing support for Americans experiencing homelessness, which includes but isn’t limited to emergency shelters and certain public housing programs.

Section 8

Commonly known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the assistance from Section 8 comes in the form of vouchers which the beneficiaries can then use to cover a portion of their housing expenses. 

One of the main advantages of the program is that the applicant is given a lot more freedom in terms of which housing option they’re going to choose, albeit they will be forced to pick from the landlords participating in the program. 

The main goal is to provide enough support for the family/household not to spend more than 20% of their income on housing expenses, allowing them to focus on improving their financial state and eventually becoming financially independent. 

Eligibility for the program is income-based, and you’ll have to be below a certain threshold in order to receive support, and if you want to learn more about how the program functions in your area, contact your local Section 8 office. 

Even though the program was intended to cover rent payments, these vouchers can sometimes be used to go towards a home’s purchasing price if you’re looking for a permanent housing option.

Public housing

Unlike Section 8, Public Housing programs are intended for extremely low-income Americans that can’t afford any other housing options and would otherwise end up on the street. 

Over 1 million households, with a total of 2.6 million residents are currently using public housing in the US, and almost 40% of them are families with children.

In order to be eligible for this form of support, your household’s total income must not exceed 80% of the area’s average income at the time of application, there being limitations to how many of the applicants need to be below 30% of the area’s median income. 

Of course, this isn’t completely free, and residents are typically required to pay a portion of the rent and utilities, usually up to 30% of their income, which allows them not to be burdened by the housing costs while also having a roof over their heads. 

The minimum rent for public housing has been set at $50, although this number can vary based on which state you’re applying in, so make sure you’ve properly investigated this before committing to this housing option.

Good Neighbor Next Door

This program, unlike the aforementioned two, focuses on the applicant’s profession, rather than their income level, as its goal is to revitalize certain areas with residents that have certain skills and convictions. 

With the Good Neighbor Next Door program, teachers, EMT workers, police officers, and firefighters can receive up to a 50% discount on select properties found in the HUD Home Store, so long as they’re able to make the home their permanent residence and spend at least the next few years living at the designated address. 

Of course, this program is only available for certain areas, and you won’t be able to get a discount on any property out there, so make sure to thoroughly examine your options before choosing to make use of this assistance option.

Bottom line

Affordable housing can be pretty difficult to find in today’s housing market, but it’s not impossible, and as long as you’re determined to make use of the many resources available to you, finding help will be a piece of cake. 

The HUD sponsors a number of different housing programs for low-income Americans including some for Americans in certain professions or belonging to specific minority groups, and if you’re able to find one that applies to you, there’s nothing stopping you from using those benefits.