Budget101 Discussion List Archives Frugal Savings Need Rent Money? Uncle Same Can Help

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      Need Rent Money? Uncle Same Can Help

      by M. Anthony Carr

      If you’re trying to get on that first rung of the homeownership ladder ? I’m
      referring to renting your first house ? there are a couple of government
      programs that pack a powerful punch for low-income home shoppers. Section 8 is
      the most popular, geared toward low-income renters, and Section 42 helps
      developers create affordable housing communities, thus increasing the pool of
      housing opportunities for low-income families.

      Households with 50 to 60 percent of the median income in a particular area can
      get assistance from a local or state housing authority that uses funds from a
      U.S. Housing and Urban Development program called Section 8. This program was
      the successor to public housing as we know it in this country. Instead of the
      government taking on the task of building and maintaining housing projects, like
      they did in great numbers during the 1960s and 1970s, now it provides financial
      assistance to home dwellers who need a helping hand.

      Basically, Section 8 funds pay the landlord rent money. The renter applies for a
      voucher (and there are several types to choose from ? check out HUD’s renting
      section at its web site: https://www.hud.gov). They include:

      a.. Conversion Vouchers
      b.. Family Unification Vouchers
      c.. Homeownership Vouchers
      d.. Project Based Vouchers
      e.. Tenant Based Vouchers
      f.. Vouchers for People with Disabilities; and
      g.. Welfare-to-Work Vouchers
      The value of the voucher varies. The public housing authority pays the owner the
      difference between 30 percent of adjusted family income and a PHA determined
      payment standard or the gross rent for the unit, whichever is lower. The family
      may choose a unit with a higher rent than the payment standard and pay the owner
      the difference. It’s a busy formula to figure, but your local PHA staff can help
      determine your voucher level.

      This voucher is what the renter then uses to rent a unit. I use the word unit,
      because it can be an apartment, condo, townhouse or single-family home. In some
      states, property owners can decide whether or not to use Section 8 vouchers,
      while other states require investors to use them if they’re going to offer
      rental properties in the state.

      Section 8 housing has helped a lot of people when they need it most, giving them
      a leg up on the tough job of saving up money for a downpayment. By using the
      Section 8 program, the renter can now save more of his or her own money in
      preparation for buying a house in the future.

      Many low-income renters know about Section 8. What they may not know about is
      Section 42 — the government program that can give Section 8 voucher holders
      extra punch for their dollar.

      Section 42 administers the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, introduced in 1986.
      LIHTC is a tax credit program developers use to construct or refurbish
      multifamily housing with the understanding that only residents who make 50 or 60
      percent of the local median income can rent the units. With that limitation, the
      developer can save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in tax
      payments because they are helping fill the need for low-income housing. With
      these savings, they can then offer apartments under the market rate rent.

      ?Although there is considerable variation among properties, tax-credit
      properties tend to be small, newly constructed, and managed by their owners.
      Most are situated in central cities. The properties are intended to serve
      families, elderly persons, and disabled persons,? according to https://www.huduser.org,
      an online information source for housing and community development researchers
      and policymakers.

      Because of the quality of some of these units, potential renters in high-rent
      markets have been caught lying to get into these properties. Basically, the
      application process is the reverse of most housing processes ? the landlord
      tries to eliminate you because you make too much money, rather than the other
      way around.

      The vouchers are administered by the state, but the properties that accept
      Section 8 properties are privately owned and maintained ? and that’s where you
      find the disconnect.

      Interested renters can find their state public housing authority web site by
      visiting the National Council of State Housing Agencies web site. There’s no
      national or state-by-state database available for voucher holders to find
      private homes who accept Section 8 vouchers. Hopefully, HUD and the state level
      PHAs can rectify this problem to make the process less painful.

      Published: November 15, 2002

      Date: Fri Feb 21, 2003 10:42 am
      Subject: Budget102: Need Rent Money? Uncle Same Can Help

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Frugal Savings Need Rent Money? Uncle Same Can Help