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Government Housing Assistance

Public housing assistance, vouchers, subsidized rental accommodation are government programs for safe, decent homes to low income families, disabled, veterans, seniors.
Aparna Iyer Jan 22, 2019
Most of us are aware of the assistance being provided by the government for the purpose of preventing foreclosures. As a part of the Making Home Affordable Program, the government is modifying mortgage payments, and helping eligible homeowners refinance their home.
In addition to helping financially distressed homeowners, the government is also providing housing assistance to low income families, veterans, homeless people, seniors, and people with disabilities. The following programs are intended to help people from becoming homeless.

Low-income Families

The HUD(U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Housing Choice Voucher Program helps low income families lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately owned rental housing. The HUD also administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) to help the latter provide affordable, safe, and decent public housing to low income families.
The number of families living in 3300 HA managed public housing units is around 1.2 million. Moreover, landlords are given incentives by the HUD, to encourage them to provide privately owned subsidized housing to low income families.


The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA) provide mortgage guarantee to veterans, military personnel, and their families to help them buy a home by availing affordable mortgages. FHA and VA insured mortgages guarantee the mortgage provider of receiving regular payments even if the borrower defaults.
In other words, the government agrees to make good the deficit, thus encouraging the lenders to provide affordable mortgages to veterans whose eligibility is determined on the basis of the number of days of active duty and other requirements.
The guarantee or insurance is an alternative to private mortgage insurance (PMI) which is unavoidable if the amount of down payment is less than 20 percent of the mortgage loan.
The HUD Veteran Resource Center (HUDVET), a partnership between National Veteran Service Organizations and HUD, is meant to provide information of a wide variety of HUD homeless assistance programs and services for veterans.

Homeless People

People who reside mainly in shelters owned and operated by the government or private entities, in areas not meant to be used for accommodation; or in asylums that provide lodging to people who are meant to be institutionalized, are referred to as homeless. Such people live in these areas due to the inability to arrange for fixed and adequate accommodation.
HUD provides housing assistance grants in lieu of rental payment to homeless people with disabilities under the Shelter Plus Care Program. In addition to grants, it also provides rental assistance to homeless people for the moderate rehabilitation of single room occupancy dwellings.
HUD's Supportive Housing Program provides accommodation, within a supportive framework, to homeless people. The HUD also provides grants to improve the existing shelters and increase the number of shelters as a part of its Emergency Shelter Grant Program.

Seniors and People with Disabilities

Federal housing assistance is available to seniors who have a limited income and positive equity on the house. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) are reverse mortgages that are insured by the U.S. Federal Government and are provided by FHA approved lenders.
However, seniors who may be incapable of residing in their house after a certain length of time, need to be aware of the pitfalls of reverse mortgage. Public housing units also provide decent and safe rental housing for elderly people, low income families, and people with disabilities who do not have a home.
Housing Choice Vouchers is another facility that aims at helping the elderly pay for privately owned rental accommodation. People who have disabilities and are interested in buying a home can contact a HUD approved Housing Counselor who is certified and educated in guiding clients with special needs.
It is advisable to visit the HUD local office or the HUD website to obtain information regarding applying for government housing assistance. Veterans interested in applying for housing assistance may visit the HUD Veteran Resource Center for further details.