Are you dealing with difficult or unique financial circumstances that have made it hard to pay your rent?
Are you dealing with a possible home eviction?
Are you currently homeless and unsure of what to do?
Fortunately, there are numerous options available to help keep or put a roof over your head. Learn how you can get help paying your rent or mortgage through one of many programs that assist with both short-term bridging loans for unexpected financial short falls or housing crises to more long-term services.
Each state will have both public and private programs, which help with emergency housing needs to more general housing situations. Many of the programs are set up specifically to help low-income families, single parents, elderly, military veterans and those dealing with disabilities.
Quick Tip: If you have just experienced a big change in your financial circumstances or are expecting a big change, reach out to your creditors early (including your property owner). In most cases, creditors and property owners will work with you, adjusting your repayments during your time of need. If you are worried or feel uncomfortable doing this, use a free third party intermediary to help you – CAA or Financial Counsellor.
Below are some of the more popular organizations that provide help paying rent
For Urgent Help Paying Rent or Bills (Immediate Rent Assistance)
If you are dealing with serious financial hardship and are at risk of being evicted, there are programs available to help pay your mortgage or rent.
The quickest options are generally through local community agencies or non-profits. They generally have access to grants and benefits from both the federal and state governments along with other private charitable funds. When dealing with a housing crisis, it’s highly recommended to contact your local Community Action Agency, church or financial counsellor first.
These organizations may also be able to help with more medium and long-term rental assistance as well.
Federal Assistance Programs To Help With Rent
The first stimulus program to help prevent homelessness is The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program(HPRP). Funds from the program are distributed to local governments and not-for-profit organizations. They in turn use the funds to assist with short and medium term rental help, housing relocation and getting into a home. This program primarily helps those in urban and metropolitan areas. Here is a full contact list of grantees that receive funds and distribute services to those in need by state – Full list
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a range of services that include actual housing or help paying rent, security deposits, housing counselling, energy bills and other housing related needs. The program helps low income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. To learn more about the program and eligibility, visit here.
Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly named “Section 8” vouchers) is another popular subsidised housing program, which recipients of the voucher find homes that they would like to live in. It is different in that it’s not government housing. Those that are approved for the program are responsible for finding a home where by the owner agrees to rent to them under the program. Learn more about the program here.
USDA Rural Development is similar to the other programs with its offerings but different in that it focuses on rural America. The main services from USDA include Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans, Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program and Multi-Family Housing Rental Assistance
State Assistance Programs To Help With Rent
Each state has its own departments and agencies that assist low income earners across a range of financial assistance programs with housing being one of the bigger ones. One of the more popular hubs for rental assistance information is from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). They provide details and access to each state’s Housing Finance Agency.
Already mentioned in the federal programs section is that of HUD. Get detailed state level information on what they offer in each state along with how and where to apply. Visit the state based HUD directory here.
As mentioned in the urgent help paying rent section, contacting local community agencies is the quickest way to learn about what programs are immediately available in your area.
Other Programs To Help With Housing Or Paying For Rent
Rent & Housing Assistance for Veterans
Veterans can utilize any of the programs mentioned in regards to help with paying rent in addition to other programs. The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program partners with many local agencies throughout the country and offer vets Housing Choice rent vouchers. Ex-service men and women can also contact National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET for immediate help.
Rental Assistance from Churches
Numerous churches throughout the country assist those in need, helping with rent, bills and other areas of need. In addition, many churches actually collaborate with different community programs, which extend their resource allowing for more assistance to those that need it. Simply reach out to any local church in your community to see if they have financial services help. Learn about some of the larger established church programs that help with bills here.
Rent Assistance from Charities
There are thousands of charities across the country working in numerous areas of assistance. Charities are great organizations that are truly there to help. They are professional services that cannot only help with paying rent or other bills, but also with healthcare, employment, food, clothing, counselling and more. Some popular charities include the United Way, American Red Cross, and Salvation Army. Learn more about charities and how they can help here.
One Off Help With Rent Through Social Services
In instance of serious financial hardship, the Department of Social Services may provide one off assistance with rent. The services and help provide will differ from state to state but a quick phone call or search online will provide what rental assistance they provide.
Small Bridging Loans To Help With Rent
Loans are a possible option for helping pay rent but should only be considered very carefully. If you are already under financial stress, adding debt can make things a lot worse. Small loans should only be considered if you are confident that your financial situation will improve immediately and be strong enough to service your general monthly commitments and the new debt. Learn about potential loan options here.
Help To Prevent An Eviction
If you are in a situation where an eviction notice has been presented, there is free professional help to work through this process.This can come in the form of an extension, assistance finding a new home, or a block on the eviction all together.Legal aid is available through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) which is an independent non-profit legal service provided by the government to help low income families and individuals with civil legal aid.
In addition to the LSC there are a number of other legal services that provide pro bono work and help low income earners with legal aid across a range of circumstances – Learn more here
In addition to help with paying rent, if you are struggling with other bills, many of the same organizations mentioned in here can help with other bills as well - Items such as utilities, food, furniture and clothing. Learn about other help with paying bills here.
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