As we enter a new year, some residents of the state of Oklahoma are facing difficulties with paying their rent during the winter months.
The good news is that there are various government programs available in Oklahoma to help families and individuals cope with these financial challenges, ensuring that they can stay warm and secure in their homes.
Rent assistance programs offer different types of financial aid to eligible individuals and families, alleviating their burden of housing costs. If you are experiencing difficulties with your rent, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we will walk you through the details of these programs and how you can sign up for them.
Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA)
OHFA offers housing assistance to low and moderate income families across the state through working with nonprofit organizations, developers and municipalities. OHFA currently oversees two rental assistance programs for low income tenants: Housing Choice Voucher Program and Performance Based Contract Administration.
Housing Choice Voucher
Housing Choice Voucher Program aims to assist individuals or households who may be struggling to afford their rent due to various reasons, such as low income, unexpected costs, or accidents. It allows eligible tenants to select a preferred apartment anywhere as long as it meets Housing Quality Standards.
To qualify for the benefit, tenants must meet specific income requirements and other eligibility criteria. The program covers a portion of your monthly rent. Once you find a comfortable place, submit your application to OHFA, then you will be added to the program's waiting list and your application will be assessed based on the date and time it is received by OHFA.
OHFA will contact you to schedule an appointment and kick off the eligibility review process when you reach the top of the waiting list. The waiting list prioritizes homeless and disabled applicants. If you or any members of your family have disabilities, don't forget to include proof of disabilities along with your application so your application can be expedited.
It's important to note that OHFA has stopped accepting new applications since October 16, 2023. You may contact local housing authority or agency to get the up-to-date information about the reopening of the waiting list.
Performance Based Contract Administration (PBCA)
The Performance Based Contract Administration provides rental subsidy to eligible residents for qualifying apartments. Unlike Housing Choice Voucher, the rental subsidy under PBCA is tied to your apartment, which means you need to apply again if you move to another place.
PBCA does not have a waiting list. You can apply for qualifying apartments by contacting the property management offices directly. There may be specific criteria for each property. For the list of eligible properties and contact information of property managers, please refer to OHFA's website.
Emergency Rental Assistance
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)
Oklahoma provides emergency housing and supportive services for individuals and households who are facing eviction risks or literally homeless through the ESG program. ESG funds are provided on an annual basis and administered by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Instead of proving direct housing services to tenants, ESG grants are distributed to nonprofit organizations that provide direct services in rural Oklahoma. You may locate the community service provider closest to you by clicking the map.
Emergency Rental Assistance by Community Action Partnership
Community Action Partnership assists with rent payments for Oklahoman households whose income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines through FEMA and the United Way.
To apply for temporary support, you also need to provide notes from landlords showing payments are behind, documentation proving the emergency and proof that you can afford the next payment. It's important to note that Section 8 or public housing recipients can not qualify for the emergency fund.
Check the full list of eligibility requirements here.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
TANF provides time-limited cash assistance for low income single-parent households, which can be used to cover living expenses like rent and childcare.
To be considered eligible, you must be a U.S. Citizen or legal alien that have responsibility for a minor child living in the home, meet income requirements, and agree to cooperate with Child Support Services and a personalized TANF Work Plan.
Affordable Housing for Veterans
Veteran’s Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) combines rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services, helping homeless veterans find housing and pay rent. Eligible veterans will receive vouchers to pay part of their monthly rent.
The Department of Veterans Affairs determines the qualification and provides the services at VA medical centers and community-based outreach clinics. If you're a veteran who is about to lose your home, you can contact your local VA medical center for more information.
Save More with FREE Cellphone and Unlimited Data
If you qualify for some of the above government programs, there is a good chance that you are also eligible for federal programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline. Through these programs, you can save more money on your mobile phone bill. And the best part is Oklahomans can get a brand new free smartphone!
The ACP is a federal program that enables needy households to access cheaper quality phone and internet services. If your family income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or any members of your household receive Federal Public Housing Assistance, you will be eligible for the benefit.
Upon qualifying for the ACP, you can receive up to a $30 monthly discount on internet service (up to $75 if you live on tribal lands). It also comes with additional perks like a one-time discount of up to $100 for a tablet or computer.
The Lifeline Program
Similar as ACP, Lifeline provides discounted mobile service to financially disadvantaged residents in Oklahoma. To qualify, your or your family income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Lifeline offers a basic phone service discount of at least $9.25 each month (up to $34.25 if you're living on tribal lands).
As mentioned above, Oklahomans who are eligible for both programs will receive an Unlimited Plan that includes a FREE smartphone when you apply directly through EASY Wireless. The plan also include:
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
To get started with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:
Start Saving Today!
Or you can drop by one of the EASY Wireless's retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.
Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!