How do I get housing assistance in Oklahoma? Don't worry, you've come to the right place. While housing costs in America have skyrocketed in recent years, there're still plenty of ways to find a home on a budget.
In this blog post -- we're not only going to share some tips to find affordable housing in Oklahoma, but also some housing assistance that could be available in your area. You don't need to be a housing specialist to score a place to live in the Sooner state!
Determine Your Budget for Housing in Oklahoma
To find housing on a budget in Oklahoma, you're going to need to determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on rent and utilities each month. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing costs.
If you're looking in larger cities like Oklahoma City or Tulsa, you may want to aim for the more expensive end of that range, around $500 to $750 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. In smaller towns and rural areas, you could likely find less expensive rents, possibly under $500 a month.
Explore Affordable Rental Options
Finding an affordable place to live in Oklahoma likely seems difficult, but there are options if you know where to find them.
Consider an Efficiency or Studio Apartment
Smaller living spaces are usually more budget-friendly. A studio or efficiency apartment has a combined living and bedroom area, plus a kitchenette and bathroom. Less square footage means lower rent.
While compact, a studio is cozy and opens up your budget for the amenities that matter like laundry on-site or animal friendliness. College towns often have affordable studios, as do older neighborhoods.
Look for Private Landlords and Older Housing
Private landlords and older properties frequently have lower rents than huge apartment complexes. Check sites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to find listings from private landlords in your area. It's possible to find a duplex, fourplex or other multi-family home for rent at a lower cost.
Older housing from the mid-20th century or earlier also tends to have more affordable rents, especially if utilities are included. With some hunting, you can uncover a budget-friendly place to call home in Oklahoma. Stay positive, there are good options out there!
Consider Getting a Roommate to Save on Costs
Getting a roommate is a great idea to drop housing costs significantly in Oklahoma. When you split rent and utilities with another person, you can save hundreds a month. Some tips for finding an affordable roommate situation:
- Consider getting a 2- or 3-bedroom apartment or house and sharing it. A larger place could have a lower rent on each person than 2 separate 1-bedrooms. Make sure each person has their own private space in addition to shared common areas.
- If you know someone looking to move at the same time as you, teaming up is an easy solution. However, living with a friend isn’t for everyone and can strain the relationship. Set clear rules and boundaries before signing a lease together.
- Check student housing near colleges or extended stay motels which often offer lower weekly and monthly rates. Some apartment complexes also offer roommate matching services to help find a compatible roommate.
- Don’t feel pressure to live with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed in your own home. It may take meeting a couple people to find the right match. With patience, you can locate an affordable roommate situation in Oklahoma that suits your needs. Sharing your space is a great way to build new friendships and connections too.
Look for Low Income or Subsidized Housing
Looking for affordable housing options in Oklahoma? A good place to start is by exploring low-income or rental assistance programs. These programs offer affordable rental units to low-income individuals.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
The LIHTC program gives tax incentives to private developers to build affordable rental housing. Units must rent to lower income tenants at below-market rates. Rent is typically set at 30% of the median income in your area. LIHTC properties often have waiting lists, but some existing properties may have immediate availability or shorter wait times. Check with property managers about their current status.
Non-Profit and Charitable Organizations
Don’t forget local non-profits and charities in your area. Many operate affordable housing or rent assistance programs. Habitat for Humanity builds affordable homes for lower income buyers. Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities are a couple large organizations that provide a range of housing services, including emergency shelters, transitional housing and rent assistance. Check with organizations in your local community to explore options.
With some patience and persistence, you can find affordable housing in Oklahoma. Explore all avenues, get on waiting lists as early as possible and follow up regularly. Relief may be closer than you think!
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
Lastly -- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as the federal housing voucher program, provides housing assistance to low-income tenants, the elderly, and the disabled so they can afford housing in the private market. If eligible, the program covers a portion of your rent and utilities.
To apply for the Section 8 voucher program, contact your local public housing authority. They're going to have you fill out an application, which typically involves providing information about your income, family size, and current living situation. There is usually a waiting list for vouchers, so apply as soon as possible.
Using Your Section 8 Voucher
Once you've been issued a housing voucher, you are free to find suitable housing in the private market. The voucher will cover a portion of the rent, depending on your income and the average rental prices in your area. You cover the difference. The place you choose must meet certain quality standards and the rent must be deemed reasonable. Your housing authorities will inspect the unit before you sign a lease.
Some key things to keep in mind:
- Find a place that accepts Section 8 vouchers. Some landlords don't participate in the program.
- The rent should be affordable for you, even with the voucher subsidy. Aim for paying no more than 30-40% of your income on rent and utilities.
- Make sure the place suits your needs in terms of size, accessibility, etc. Your local housing authority must approve your unit, but you will be living there!
- Follow the program rules to avoid losing your voucher or rental assistance. This includes properly reporting changes in income or family size and complying with annual inspections.
- Consider porting your voucher to another area if needed. After about a year, you're likely able move to another city or state and use your voucher there. Some restrictions do apply.
- The Section 8 voucher program provides a valuable opportunity for affordable housing. Do your research, understand the rules, and work with your PHA to make the most of this resource.
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