Are You Facing a Housing Crisis? What You Need to Know About Assistance
April 17, 2020
There has been a housing crisis bubbling over for decades in America. Recent events have led it to come to a head, and millions of people are facing uncertainty when it comes to making their rent or mortgage payments. Since housing insecurity is a leading contributor to socio-economic disparities, this needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, navigating the current housing assistance channels can be incredibly complex, leading many to walk away in frustration and defeat. Be prepared for the challenge by knowing what is available, what you will need to do, and where you can turn for help.
Special Circumstances Can Speed Up the Process
If someone in your household has special circumstances, you may be able to qualify for additional help. You may qualify for extra or expedited assistance include if anyone in your household meets any of these guidelines:
Has a documented intellectual or developmental disability
Has established medical conditions or physical disabilities
Has previously served in the military or certain occupations
If you already have a caseworker, talk to them about housing resources that may be available to you. Veterans should contact a veterans service office in their county or state to find out more about possible benefits.
Assistance Programs Have Very Specific Rules and Regulations
Each program that can help you reach housing stability will have its own set of rules, requirements and regulations. Knowing what they are ahead of time can help you be prepared when seeking assistance. For example, HUD criteria lay out a specific screening process that must be followed before you can move into a publicly funded housing project or receive Section 8 subsidies for rent.
You Should Be Prepared to Provide Documentation
Virtually all of the programs available will require documentation to verify your identity, your income and employment status, and your current housing status. If you are claiming an exception or looking for extra assistance due to a special circumstance, you should also be prepared to provide documentation of that need. The more prepared you are at the start of your application process, the quicker and easier it will be.
Many Lenders Will Work Out a Payment Plan With You
If you are a homeowner who is struggling to make mortgage payments, you may be able to talk to your lender and work out a new payment plan with graduated payment amounts or reduced interest. You don’t have anything but a phone call to lose by trying, and you just might be able to save your home from foreclosure.
The truth is that many families are a single paycheck away from being on the street. No matter how bleak your situation seems, there is help available if you know where to look. It won’t be easy to secure, especially as more people seek help, but it is there and so are the resources to help you navigate the system.