What Are Housing Grants?

Housing grants are grants that enable people that are in a low income situation to afford either an apartment or a house. One of the most prominent organizations responsible for issuing these grants is the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (often called HUD for short). This is a federal department that is oversees the task of making affordable housing available to low income individuals and families.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development was created in 1965 under the Johnson administration when the president signed the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act. This act was a part of Lydon Johnson’s Great Society agenda. The act among other things stipulates that low income families should have to pay no more than 30% of their income as rent.

If you’re considering trying to get a housing grant, HUD is probably a good place to begin. HUD is the umbrella organization. The actual organization you’ll be dealing with is your local housing department. Housing departments nationwide are coordinated and overseen by HUD as they administer local policies, procedures, and programs. Here’s how to apply for a HUD grant:

Go to the HUD website

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has a website that makes its programs readily accessible to applicants. The site contains a number of links on the left hand side to various aspects of the HUD process such as: buying a house, avoiding foreclosure, getting rental assistance, applying for grants and so on.

Select What to Apply For

Select from the options based on your housing need. Basically, you are probably either: 1. An individual or family with relatively low income looking for an apartment or house rental 2. An individual or family with low income interested in buying a house. Or 3.An organization seeking to secure a grant to administer local housing programs or for some other reason.

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If you’re seeking an affordable rental

If you wish to find an apartment you can rent affordably, click the “find rental assistance” link on the left side of the home page. This will land you on another page which contains a short list that includes three main categories:

Privately owned subsidized housing

This area consists of resources and instructions for those who wish to find affordable private rather than public housing. In other words, there are apartments that are privately owned which also fall under the HUD umbrella and offer affordable rents to those in need.

Public Housing

This is the category that deals with low income individuals in search of (mainly rental) properties for their housing. The clickable “public housing agency” link here directs the user to an interactive US map in which they can find their local housing authority. This organization, as noted above, is the one the individual will be dealing with in their apartment search. Public housing is administered by local or state governments in which somebody seeking affordable housing arrangements resides.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

Most people have heard the term “Section 8.” This refers to vouchers given out by the government that cover all or part of the rent in a house or building of the individual’s choosing. Thus it is considered that the individual is able to exercise choice in finding housing. The government simply agrees to pay for housing in the amount of the voucher, and whether this is used to cover the total rent or not is up to the renter. This type of program is also administered by local housing agencies, so the category has another link to an interactive US map.

Depending on what type of rental assistance you are seeking follow the instructions associated with these categories.

If you are an individual interested in buying a house

The left side of the home page of the HUD website has a category called “buy a home” for those interested in purchasing HUD subsidized houses. There are, however, very few actual grants available for house purchase through HUD. Rather the link directs the user to a page that gives information about how to apply for Federal Housing Authority (FHA) backed loans and so forth.

If you are an organization interested in a HUD grant

Organizations that want top access HUD grant money should click the link in the list on the home page called “apply for a grant.” This directs the user to information about HUD’s grants office, as well as about a related website called Grants.gov that lists all the available federal grants for various purposes. In fact, anyone (i.e. an organization) applying for a grant needs to be signed up with the Grants.gov website first. It is important to emphasize that the “HUD grants” being discussed here are for the most part only offered to organizations – businesses, nonprofits, etc.- and not to individuals.

HUD can help out if you’ve got budgetary issues keeping you from finding affordable housing. However it should be borne in mind that there can be fairly long waiting lists for grants and assistance from HUD due to the large number of applications they receive. By being patient and conscientious in your contact with this department you will have the best chance of success in getting the financing you are looking for.

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