If you are a Florida resident suffering from a financial hardship, then you may have difficulty paying expenses such as rent or mortgage for housing. However, the state of Florida offers several housing assistance programs which may help you. Florida housing assistance programs were established to reduce the number of homeless people in the state and provide shelter for FL residents in need. Each housing assistance program in Florida has specific eligibility requirements which you must meet, including income requirements, which change based on the exact county of residence and the current economic trends. You must learn about the eligibility requirements for each FL housing program and use the information to determine where to apply for housing aid for yourself or your family. Below is a list of the top Florida housing assistance programs, their requirements and the services for which you may qualify.
The Florida Public Housing Program
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established a nationwide public housing program which can help if you are a low-income individual or have a low-income household. The FL Public Housing Program is administered by officials at Public Housing Authority branches in each county and provides several specific rental housing locations across the state. The rent in the specified apartment complexes and locations is low and may accommodate you and your family if you cannot afford to pay higher rent elsewhere.
The Florida Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
Similar to the Public Housing Program, the Florida Housing Choice Voucher Program can also provide you with an apartment or home at a discounted rental rate. The HCVP is also referred to as Section 8 housing and is administered by the county Public Housing Authority. Under Section 8, your county PHA will pay your landlord a portion of the monthly rental amount directly and you are only responsible for paying the remaining balance due each month.
The Section 8 program also allows you to choose where you live, rather than requiring you to live in a designated low-income property as you would be required to do under the Public Housing Program. However, a PHA representative must inspect your chosen rental property to ensure it meets specified standards before you sign a rental agreement. The PHA representative must also approve of the total rent amount being charged by your landlord based on the property size and amenities provided.
To qualify for Section 8, you must meet low-income and low-asset requirements, which change annually. You must also prove that you have legal immigration status or are a citizen of the U.S. Additionally, the PHA will require you to pass a criminal background check and have either no history or a positive history with other subsidized rental agencies in terms of paying your rent on time and meeting standards set by your prior housing agencies, regardless of whether or not those agencies were in other states.
The Florida HUD-VASH Program
The HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) is a housing voucher program which may benefit you if you are a military veteran. However, HUD-VASH vouchers are available on a limited basis, which means that you may be placed on a waiting list. Also, to meet eligibility for housing assistance through HUD-VASH, the county in which you intend to live in must offer the service and you must be homeless, as well as already receiving clinical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Florida SHIP Home Purchase Program
If you are a low-income Florida resident and you hope to eventually own your own home, then you may receive assistance through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP). The SHIP Home Purchase Program offers both purchasing assistance and up to $5,000 in funds to help you repair a home that you are purchasing. However, the exact amount of financial aid you will receive from the SHIP program, if any, will depend on your household income and existing assets. If you qualify for assistance under the SHIP Home Purchase Program, then you will be provided with an additional home mortgage. However, your second mortgage will be deferred and after 15 years your balance will be forgiven. You will only have to repay the mortgage balance if you sell your home or stop using it as your main residence within the established 15-year time span.
Other Organizations Which Provide Florida Housing Assistance
If you do not qualify for housing assistance through any of the above Florida programs, then you may request assistance from other state organizations which offer housing services. The United Way and the Salvation Army are two large organizations which sometimes provide housing assistance in Florida. Other organizations which may offer housing services include Habitat for Humanity and various religion-based outreach programs throughout the state.