If you are in immediate need of housing or assistance:
1. Dial 211. In most areas of the U.S., this will connect you with local social services and referrals for emergency housing.
You can also check your local government or state's human or social services programs for housing assistance. Or use the map on the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a shelter near you. The types of facilities vary. Research the best options for:
Cost - Most shelters are free, but some may charge a small fee. Most facilities that provide residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs charge a fee. Many, however, are low-cost, accept Medicaid, or operate on a sliding scale based on your income.
Length of stay - This can vary from a couple of days to weeks or months.
Types of services - Some facilities just provide safe shelter for the night, while others are transitional. They provide both housing and support services. They may help you with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, or job training.
Housing Assistance and Resources
People with low income, seniors, and people with disabilities may qualify for help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to get affordable rental housing. HUD doesn't own rental property. It gives money to states and building owners, who in turn provide low-income housing opportunities.
There are three main types of affordable rental housing that are supported by HUD:
Privately owned, subsidized housing in which landlords are paid by the government to offer reduced rents to low-income tenants.
Search for an apartment –this link will identify apartments in your area and help you apply directly at the rental management office.
Public Housing provides affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. To apply.
Click here to find contact information in your state public housing agency
Housing Choice Voucher Program in which you find a rental property yourself, and use the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a public housing agency in your state.
HUD APPROVED COUNSELING IN YOUR AREA
Find a HUD-approved housing counselor in your area online or call 1-800-569-4287 to find a local housing counseling agency . The counselor may be from a non-profit organization approved to offer advice on housing assistance.
HOUSINGCHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM (FORMERLY SECTION 8)
Find out how the Housing Choice Voucher Program can help you pay for rental housing. Get information about eligibility requirements, how you can apply, and where to file housing complaints.
To apply for a Housing Choice voucher, contact a public housing agency in your state. If you need more assistance, contact your local HUD office.
HOW TO GET HELP PAYING RENT
STATE HUMAN OR SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY
Contact your state human or social service agency:
If you need immediate, emergency assistance
To find out what other help may be available for you locally
Even if you don't qualify for rental assistance through these agencies, they may be able to refer you to a community organization that can help. You may also search for and contact community or nonprofit organizations in your area. They may help you directly or offer you referral information
RENTAL HELP IN YOUR STATE
In addition to the federal rental assistance, homeownership and home buying assistance programs, there may be programs sponsored by your state or local government or other organizations that can help you. Click here to find Rental help in your state - find affordable rentals and special needs housing, get help with your utility bills, and more
Public housing is state-owned, affordable rental houses or apartments. It's intended for families with low incomes, seniors, and people with disabilities. Found nationwide, public housing comes in all sizes and types, from single-family houses to high-rise apartments. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers the program.
Since the demand for public housing is often larger than the amount of housing available to HUD and the local PHA, long waiting periods are common. A PHA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.
Click here to find your local public housing agency (PHA) that can help you determine your eligibility for public housing
HOUSING RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
A variety of federal, state, and local housing programs can help you:
Find and afford a place to live
Modify an existing home for disabilities, or
Help you develop skills to live independently
People with disabilities are eligible for all:
HOUSING FOR SENIORS
If you are a senior or a person with a disability, find out what housing resources are available for you:
Housing Choice Voucher Program - This program helps very low income families, seniors, and people with disabilities afford housing in the private market.
Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program - This program subsidizes independent living-type apartments for seniors that offer services like cleaning, cooking, and transportation. Use the HUD Resource Locator and choose "Find Affordable Elderly and Special Needs Housing."
Eldercare Locator - This site offers information and resources on housing options for older adults in your area. The following resources may also help:
Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor if you have questions about your situation.
Adult day care provides care and companionship for seniors who need help or supervision during the day.
Home care programs provide services to those who need some help but do not require constant care.
LongTermCare.gov provides information on the type of care support to look for and general advice on how to find and pay for it.
The Home Health Compare section on Medicare.gov supplies information on local home health agencies, including how well they care for their patients.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides tips for staying in your own home and safely aging in place.
HOUSING HELP FOR VETERANS
Find programs to help older veterans with a wide range of housing needs. This includes in-home care, assisted living, and retirement homes for veterans.
Get help finding housing and care in a variety of residential settings. This includes nursing homes, assisted living, and medical foster homes.
If you need in-home care so you can remain at home, the VA may be able to help. Call the VA Health Care Benefits number at 1-877-222-8387. Or, contact the VA medical center nearest you.
Homeless Veteran Resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - Use these resources to find safe housing. Or explore opportunities to return to employment, find health care, or get mental health services.
Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). You can find help 24 hours a day.
A new VA program, the Shallow Subsidy initiative, offers a fixed rental subsidy to low-income vets for up to two years.
HOUSING HELP FOR YOUTH
Call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929).
Housing programs and street outreach - Find stable, safe housing. You can also get education help, survival aid, counseling, crisis intervention, and follow-up support.
HOUSING HELP PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) - Find help if you have a serious mental illness. The PATH program can assist you if you’re homeless or at risk of homelessness.
HOUSING RESOURCEES FOR NATIVE AMERICANS
For housing help, contact the following offices:
To live on private land, contact the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH).
To live on a reservation, contact a local Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE).
Find your state housing counseling agency online or call 1-800-569-4287.
HELP WITH UTILITY BILLS
LIHEAP utility bill crisis programs can be an option for low income families that are faced with an emergency such as a disconnection or that are very low on heating oil or fuel. Grants and financial assistance can be paid out directly to your energy company for your unpaid bill. The funds can be expedited to households that are faced with a shut off of their electric or utility service. The funds may even provide grants within 24 business hours in some cases.
Find how to apply for the LIHEAP crisis program
Telephone and Internet Assistance Programs- Low income families can receive discounts on their monthly phone bills from Lifeline, free cell phones, or even savings on their high speed cable Internet connection. Some of these services are combined with other electric bill programs as well, such as LIHEAP, so a customer will automatically be eligible for them.
Continue reading on telephone and internet programs.
Need Help Paying Bills lists Programs near you by state. This can assist the customer with either paying or saving money on their monthly energy bills. The type of resources available vary by state, utility company, funding levels, and what is offered can even change based on the season. Examples of what may be offered include the following.
The companies can provide direct financial assistance or referrals.
Many will also offer some form of payment plan. The utility company can provide the customer more time to catch on on any bills that are past due.
Depending on the terms and conditions in place, assistance can come in the form of credits, emergency financial help or grants to help customers pay their energy, heating, or cooling bills, including free grant money from the federal government or state.
Or certain programs can help individuals save money on their utilities through such services as weatherization, free energy audits or any number of other energy bill conservation resources.
NATIONAL ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS SUPPORTED BY MOST STATE UTILITY COMPANIES
There are also resources available that are considered to be more nationally based assistance programs, including these. Almost all energy companies can help people apply for them or direct customers to agencies that administer the services.
Weatherization – This is a federal government funded program that provides qualified low income, elderly, and disabled customers with free energy saving enhancements to their homes. What may be done includes, but is not limited too, adding insulation, programmable thermostats, and caulking. Find details on weatherization services from the USDOE, and get more details.
Free inspection / energy audits - Most major utility companies provide some version of this to their customers, no matter the households income. They work with customers to help them save money, take pressure off the utility grid, and even give customers free items for reducing power usage. More on free energy audits from utility companies.
Free heating oil – Some non-profit organizations provide a limited amount of free heating oil to customers in the Midwest and Northeast. This is often done in partnership with utility and gas companies and is offered during the fall, winter, and spring months. Read more free heating oil.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - Another federal funded program that people can turn to for financial assistance and cash grants. There are two components. One is for paying regular monthly utility bills, with a focus on helping with heating bills. Read more on this LIHEAP grant program as an option.