Help for Tenants, Homeowners and Homeless Persons

What type of help do you need?

Are you looking for a lawyer?

If you are a low-income tenant or homeowner and are in need of legal assistance, there are several organizations that you can contact for help.

Legal Services lawyers are federally-funded attorneys that serve low income, eligible persons. To find the legal services program in your community, visit the Legal Services Corporation website, then select your home state for a full directory of program offices and locations. The staff of your local federally-funded legal services office may also be able to refer you to other lawyers that help low-income residents in your area.

Private attorneys will sometimes work for free or at reduced cost. You can find these attorneys by asking for referrals from local legal services programs and local attorneys or by contacting your State Bar Association and asking for contact information on their pro-bono programs and referrals to local lawyers.

Are you facing foreclosure and need Emergency Assistance or looking for a HUD-approved housing counseling agency?

If you are a homeowner or are interested in becoming one and are looking for an organization that will provide you with advice or assistance regarding buying a home, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and reverse mortgages, visit HUD’s website to locate HUD-approved counseling agencies in your area.

Starting April 4, 2011, HUD is launching an Emergency Homeowner Assistance Loan Program that will provide financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. The program will be administered by NeighborWorks through it network of counseling agencies. To find such a counseling agency in your area, go to NeighborWorks' website. To find more about the program, click here.

Are you looking for affordable rental housing?

If you are low-income person or household and you are looking for affordable rental housing in your area, there are a number of organizations that can help you:

Your local public housing authority operates the Public Housing program and the Housing Choice Voucher program, commonly known as the Section 8 or voucher program.
o Finding your local housing authority on the web: Visit the HUD website to find public housing agencies in your area. Once at the website, select your state, then, look for your local housing authority by name of your city or county.
o Finding your local housing authority in the phone directory: If you don’t have regular access to a computer, look in your phone book in the government or business sections for your local housing authority. Some areas have both city and county housing authorities; others just have a city housing authority. In the governmental section of the phone book, first look for the city, then look for housing authority or housing department. In some instances, the housing authority is listed under the city’s housing department.

Private and nonprofit landlords operate a host of other subsidized rental housing programs. HUD maintains a searchable list of these programs.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) also finances subsidized rental housing in rural areas throughout the United States and maintains a website that allows you to search for USDA rural rental housing in your area.

Low Income Tax Credit housing is affordable rental housing developed through the Internal Revenue Services’ Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC). Typically, this housing does not serve extremely low-income households, but it is less expensive than comparable private housing in the community. LIHTC housing is owned and operated by private owners and nonprofit agencies and is monitored in each state by a state agency. Frequently, but not always, that agency is the state housing finance agency. Some of these agencies may have lists of persons and organizations that operate LIHTC housing in your state. Online, the National Council of State Housing Agencies provides a listing of tax credit finance agencies by state.

Are you looking for housing assistance for persons with a disability?

Public housing authorities in your area should provide housing that accommodates persons with disabilities. Frequently, public housing authorities have admission preferences for person with disabilities. Housing authorities are also required to make a reasonable accommodation in their housing to enable a person with a disability to live in their housing. You should therefore contact your local housing authority or a privately subsidized housing landlord to find out what housing they may have available for a person with a disability.

Did you know?

• You can use a Section 8 voucher to rent housing on the private market that will accommodate a person with a disability. In fact, some housing authorities have Section 8 vouchers that are specifically designated for persons with disabilities.
• Many privately owned federally subsidized housing developments also have units that are designed for persons with disabilities, especially developments designed as housing for the elderly.

If you or someone you are caring for has a disability, there are housing resources available to you. Here are a few helpful links:

HUD’s website has significant information about housing for persons with disabilities.

Disabilityinfo.gov has housing information for people with disabilities.

Are you looking for homeless assistance?

There are many agencies working to help homeless individuals find permanent housing. Here are some organizations that may be able to help:

Public housing authorities in your area; housing authorities may give admission preferences and a preference for receiving Section 8 vouchers for persons who are homeless. Visit the HUD website to find public housing authorities in your area.

Emergency shelters and other assistance: HUD maintains a list of organizations throughout the country that provide emergency and other assistance to homeless persons.

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans has a list of organizations throughout the country that will assist homeless veterans on a variety of issues including housing.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has links to databases related to for local service organizations, educating homeless children, transitional housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, and day shelters.

Do you want to file a housing discrimination complaint?

If you feel you have been discriminated against based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability, there are federal and state resources that can help you.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is the federal agency that is responsible for processing and prosecuting housing discrimination complaints. Information on filing discrimination complaints is available on their website.

In addition, many states have agencies that handle housing discrimination complaints. You can find your state’s agency here.