Updated: Mar 8
Is Affordable Housing the Answer for Low-Income or Bad Credit Families?
When you and your family need an apartment to rent but the rising cost of living, bad credit, or financial difficulty make lease approval difficult, it may be time to consider help with affordable housing.
What is Affordable Housing for Families?
As a single parent or growing family, you want to provide the best for your household but when the rent becomes too expensive, it threatens your loved ones' safety, security, and future.
Fortunately, family-friendly alternatives such as affordable housing prioritize the needs of families with children. The options for affordable homes to rent include:
What is the Problem with Affordable Housing for Families?
It is no secret that affordable housing and public housing have been associated with a poor reputation or stereotype in the past. This stereotype has stopped many families from pursuing a low-income home because of the fear of being stigmatized by friends and family, or not providing their children a safe and secure home.
In only the last decade, the affordable housing market has seen persistent efforts to change the negative perception and to provide for the needs of families who are looking for a cost-effective place to live. You can find secure and modern properties at a fraction of the rent you would pay in a 'traditional' apartment but if you're still hesitant about the low-cost housing sector, think about it this way: "It's all about choosing the right solution for your current situation and making the best out of it." Let's take a look at why you should choose affordable housing for your family.
The Benefits of Affordable Housing for Families
If you find that you're cost-burdened or you cannot cover your monthly rent, one of the easiest ways to balance your expenses is with a home that you can afford. When your expenses start digging into your disposable income, you become stressed, frustrated, and unable to engage or enjoy time with your family.
The easiest way to resolve the income to expense gap is to choose the right type of housing. It could go a long way to improving your situation so you can focus on what matters in life - your family.
Before considering your affordable housing options, you need to make sure that they will support your family's needs. You'll have to consider the following factors:
Education for your kids - school zones
Financial stability that supports long term goals
If you've looked into affordable housing, it may be no surprise that many of the homes that are intended to help families in a bad financial situation are not in the best locations. Fortunately, there are ways you can find both a rental and a location to suit your needs and where you and your dependents will feel safe.
The first step is to consider the location. Is it in generally good condition and well-maintained? When you go visit the affordable housing locations you should check the upkeep of the property to ensure that the landlord is attentive and prioritizes the community. You can also get to know what the community is like by greeting and conversing with passing-by residents. Ask yourself, are the residents proud of where they live? How long do residents generally keep a lease here? A good indication of a good apartment complex is a waiting list of people who put down a deposit.
Education is key and as parents and caregivers, we always strive to provide our children the very best. Before deciding on an affordable housing location check the school zones of the location and what they offer. Determine the quality of education offered by these schools including overall attendance, school values, and extracurricular activities that are available such as arts, drama, and sports.
One of the most important things about life and education is not just the school itself, but how parents continue the education at home.
Safety is a number one concern no matter where you live. We want to feel secure in our home or apartment. Some common security features you can look for in an affordable apartment include:
Rental housing that is considered secure, will also have positive reviews and fewer mentions of incidents in the news or within online community forums. Remember, you want to find an affordable place to live but it should also make you feel safe.
Maintaining financial stability is not only beneficial with low-cost housing but also helps with other opportunities in your life. With housing help, you will be able to spend less money on rent and start building your future. Take the help, start saving, avoid eviction and develop longevity in your employment. If you train your mind and discipline yourself to focus on being able to buy a house then with the right steps you should be able to. You can check our guide on How to buy a house on low-income.
What Type of Housing Help Will Help You The Most?
Each type of affordable housing has its own set of pros and cons. It is up to you to look at the features of rentals of interest and to make comparisons so you can find an apartment best suited to your finances, lifestyle, and your family's future.
Section 8 housing offers public or governmental assistance through housing vouchers. Income-based apartments work by increasing your rent as your income grows. Second chance properties are also diverse, from accepting evictions and collection to some felony charges. You need to understand the options and think about what will be the best one for you.
Affordable housing is usually an in-between solution. This type of apartment is more cost-effective and accepts people with recent evictions or collections. Affordable communities tend to hold high standards of management and focus on low-income families.
Low-income apartments like affordable housing, target the low-income families that need the help but they also can tolerate late payments and other situations. For example, low-income property managers are more understanding in situations where a resident's car breaks down making it difficult for them to cover the cost of their transport and paying their rent on time. It is important to learn about apartment policies concerning late payments and associated penalties.
Second chance apartments are for residents that have evictions, collections, bad credit, no steady job, and other unfortunate situations. A good second chance property will usually try to help a renter to get back on their feet. They are more flexible on background and credit than other types of housing. We created a full guide on how to rent a second chance apartment, to make it easier for you to determine whether such rentals are suited to your needs.
Income-based homes rent is based on your income. They will take a very small portion out of your declared income and the rest will be matched by the government. This is a very good option for people that are on fixed income or people that have a hard time finding a job.
Tax credit housing is a program that is set by the government to provide an economic incentive for a developer to designate land for low-income housing. Tax credit properties are obligated to a low price for apartments rent, but they can have high qualifications to be approved to rent from them.
Section 8 is a program where one can apply only on the dates the program opens after which one will be placed on a list. Section 8 is usually considered as the best affordable housing help in the market. The government pays your rent directly to the landlord and the renter pays a very small portion out of it. The downside of section 8 is the very long waiting list and not every property you are interested in renting accepts section 8.
HUD is the department of housing and urban development government agency. They have all kinds of programs that are available for interested renters throughout the year. HUD tries to do its best to provide housing solutions for all applicants. It is best to contact them to learn if they have new programs that might help you. Check them out here: HUD.
Public housing is very similar to section 8. Public housing consists of government-managed and owned housing projects. Some of the projects are very good but be sure to take your time to inspect properties to rent to avoid less secure rentals.
Your Decision Can Transform Your Family's Lives
Whether you find yourself in a difficult financial position or you need to find more affordable rent, it is important to know that there are options available to help you. For families, finding an affordable or low-cost rental means research into the market, the location, the community, and the features that address the needs of their children. It is not an easy task when you only want the best for your family, but with some homework and comparisons of affordable homes, you can find a rental to support your situation, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.
You should compare the positives and the negatives provided with each type of housing. Evictions, collections, and bad credit can be solved by renting a second chance apartment, while a temporary loss of income can be compensated by local housing assistance like MIFA or special dedicated funds.
Research conducted by "The National Low Income Housing Coalition" - Adequate Supply of Affordable Rental Housing for the Lowest Income Renters showed that there is a shortage of housing solutions for renters that are considered low income. During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, in the USA, unemployment rose to 20% in some areas forcing more renters to find a better solution for rent. In 2021, more households are relying on government assistance to avoid eviction.
To help you and your family, you can make the choice today to save on your rent while securing opportunities and working towards a better quality of life for your children.
"The future will be better tomorrow" - Dan Quayle