So, you’ve found yourself in need of affordable housing in Missouri. Maybe money is lower this month, you lost your job, or rent or expenses have skyrocketed out of your budget. Whatever your reason is, not having a stable place to call home is an incredibly stressful situation. But don’t panic so soon. Missouri actually has some good options for affordable housing, no matter what your budget may be.
From income-based apartments to long-term public housing, there're resources available to help get you back on your feet. This blog post explores the different affordable housing choices in Missouri so you can find something that suits your needs. There's always a solution and people here to help if you become homeless.
Understanding Homelessness in Missouri
Homelessness in Missouri affects over 6,000 individuals each year. Truth is, anyone could end up homeless due to circumstances that aren't in their control like work loss, health issues, or lack of a support system.
In Missouri, the top causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, and lack of healthcare. Rent skyrocketed while wages stayed stagnant, leaving many unable to afford basic necessities. Now that you understand what could cause homelessness, what should you do if you find yourself on the street?
Finding Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing
If you find yourself homeless in Missouri, don’t panic. There's plenty of emergency shelters and programs on a state and federal level to help get you back on your feet. Such as:
Emergency shelters provide temporary housing for up to 30-90 days. They offer basic necessities like a bed, food, showers and case management services to help connect you with long-term housing and employment. Some well-known shelters in Missouri:
- City Hope in St. Louis which has separate facilities for men, women, children, and families.
- Gateway 180 which serves single men, women, children, and families.
For medium-term solutions explore transitional housing. These programs provide subsidized housing and support services to help you gain stability and independence. Some options:
With emergency shelters for short-term relief and transitional housing programs to get you back on your feet long-term, Missouri has options for people in need of housing at every stage. Make sure you don’t lose hope - reach out for help right away. There are organizations ready to assist you.
Applying for Affordable Rental Housing
Once you're more-or-less in stable housing, it's a good idea to start thinking about a more permanent solution. Thanks to organizations like Missouri Housing Development Commission, you're likely able to find affordable housing options. To apply for affordable housing, first check if you meet the income requirements. In Missouri, affordable housing is available for those earning 60% or less of the area median income.
Next, look for available rentals in your area that accept affordable housing vouchers or subsidies. Some places to start searching:
- Your local PHA website (i.e The Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC) if you're in Kansas City).
- Check local homeless shelters or social services agencies. They often maintain lists of affordable housing options.
Once you find some possibilities, prepare to start apply applying. You're going to need things such as:
- Identification for yourself and family members
- Your Social Security cards
- Proof of citizenship or permanent residency for household members
- Bank statements
- References from employers, caseworkers, etc.
Applying to Affordable Housing
When applying to affordable housing in Missouri, the application process typically involves:
- Filling out a written application with information on your income, family size, etc.
- An interview where they verify the details on your application.
- Background and credit checks. Don't worry if you have bad credit, you can still be approved.
- If selected, you will need to provide a security deposit which can often be subsidized.
Rent payments are typically 30% of your monthly income. With patience and persistence, you could definitely find an affordable place to call home. Staying on top of applications and following up with places you’ve applied can help speed up the process. There are people and resources to help you endure this difficult time.
Seeking Additional Rental Assistance (Section 8 Housing Vouchers)
If you’re having trouble affording rent and utilities, you may qualify for additional rental assistance with Section 8 housing vouchers. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides subsidies that cover part of your rent. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUDs) and administered by public housing agencies (PHAs).
Applying For Section 8 Housing
To apply for Section 8 in Missouri, contact your local PHA. They will have you fill out an application, which typically involves providing information about your income, family size, citizenship status, and current living situation. If selected from the waiting list, the PHA will determine if you qualify based on their income limits. Qualified applicants only give 30-40% of their adjusted income toward rent and utilities, while Section 8 subsidizes the amount left.
If approved, you receive either project-based or tenant-based assistance. Project-based vouchers like a community development block grant are tied to specific rental units, so you must live in those units to receive aid. Tenant-based vouchers, or Section 8 housing choice vouchers, allow you to find a suitable rental unit on the private market. Your PHA will inspect the unit to ensure it meets basic health and safety standards before approving the lease and subsidy amount.
Tips to Help Qualify For Section 8 Housing
Section 8 provides much-needed financial relief and housing stability. However, there are typically long waiting lists due to limited funding. Some tips to improve your chances:
- Meet all eligibility criteria, especially income limits and citizenship requirements.
- Apply as soon as the waiting list opens.
- Be prepared to provide all required documentation.
- Consider applying for project-based assistance which may have shorter waits.
- Ask if your PHA offers any preferences, e.g. for veterans, disabled or elderly applicants.
- Check if any neighboring PHAs have open waiting lists or preferences you may qualify for.
Section 8 vouchers offer an affordable housing opportunity for low-income tenants in Missouri. With patience and perseverance, work with your local PHA to find a rental unit and achieve housing security.
Locating Low-Cost and Subsidized Homes for Sale
If buying a home seems out of reach because you can only afford to rent, don’t worry. There're many safe and affordable housing options in Missouri for people of all income levels. Several government programs could help score you a lower-cost one or two bedroom rental home.
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Homes
The LIHTC program provides tax incentives to developers to build affordable rental housing. Some LIHTC homes are available for purchase at below-market prices. Income limits apply. Search for LIHTC homes on sites such as AffordableHousingOnline.com.
USDA Rural Development Program
The USDA offers subsidized mortgages, assistance on down payments, and home repair loans for low-income homebuyers in rural areas. Income limits and location restrictions apply. Check their website to know if you're eligible.
Habitat For Humanity Program
Habitat for Humanity organization builds and rehabilitates homes for those in need. Homes are sold at no profit with no-interest mortgages. Homebuyers invest sweat equity by helping build their own homes. Local Habitat affiliates determine eligibility. Visit their site to find your local chapter.
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