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How to Get Rental Assistance for Seniors

by Clarice Cook

Senior rental assistance is available through government agencies such as HUD, the Public Housing Authority, the Department of Agriculture agencies of the Rural Housing Service and the local Rural Development Program. Each state, city and township may have different agency locations. However, every agency receives funding, at least in part through the federal government.

Make a list of government housing agencies. HUD, Housing Urban Development for privately owned subsidized housing Local Public Housing Authority Local Rural Development office

Using the phone book or Internet, research each option. Suggested Websites: http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/rental_assistance http://www.phada.org/ha_list.php http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/

Analyze the information from your calls or websites viewed. HUD determines the amount the renter can pay according to income. Housing Choice - Renter finds apartment using Section 8 government voucher. Public Housing - Apartment owners provide low-income apartments.

Obtain the appropriate applications, fill out and submit them. HUD - Call toll-free (800) 569-4287 Ask for a Renter's Kit. Housing Choice - Apply for Section 8 government voucher. Public Housing - Obtain forms for proof of income.

Obtain a list of government-approved low-income apartments from each website. Call to set up appointments to view each available and acceptable option.

Meet with apartment managers. Tour the apartment available; take someone knowledgeable with you to help with the assessment. Be alert to safety, cleanliness or noise issues. Take notes and wait to make a commitment later. Obtain any brochures or paperwork to take along.

At home, review all your notes with the family member or friend helping in the process. Make a list of likes and don't likes of each apartment viewed. Check the information given against government program guidelines. Notify government agencies of any infractions that were noticed.

Notify the selected apartment and any government agencies, if required.

Revisit the chosen apartment office and hand in all paperwork, applications or vouchers that are required. Make an appointment to move in.

Items you will need
  • Phone
  • Phone book
  • Internet access
  • Writing pad
  • Pens or pencil

Tip

  • When looking for an apartment, check the ratings with the Better Business Bureau, the Equal Housing Authority and Neighborhood Associations. Get feedback on safety issues in the area. Check for wheelchair or easy accessibility in the building and in the apartments. Look for railings in hallways and bathrooms. Be alert for signs of mold, mice or insect infestation. Check with the Building Code inspectors for any violations.

Warnings

  • Check with government agencies about changes in income limits for rental assistance programs every year.
  • Report any uncorrected infractions in living conditions and safety to the appropriate government agency while living in the apartment.

About the Author

Clarice Cook of Galesburg, Mich., a graduate of Davenport College (University), has successfully developed business documents, articles, newsletters and brochures for various local businesses over 10 years. Among her credits as a writer and publisher are two local 1990s tabloids called, "For Women, By Women" and "C.W. Fever."

Photo Credits

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