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Grant Programs for Housing - Part 1

Housing grant programs provide direct help to families who are struggling to avoid foreclosure or to own their first home. Here are some programs designed to help families fighting to afford decent housing.

Getting Started
The housing market crash of 2008 had a devastating impact on lower income homeowners. Careless and sometimes predatory lenders allowed buyers to take on loans they simply couldn't afford, and when housing prices plunged many were left owing more than their homes were worth, and paying punitive interest rates on crippling debts. Most middle and higher income families were able to survive the crash, but many low-income families who hopped into the market during the height of the housing bubble faced the prospect of losing their homes in humiliating foreclosures or struggling against all odds to pay enormous debts. Buyers entering the market after the crash have been deterred by strict lending criteria and daunting requirements.

There are many grant programs that exist to help low-income families who are either trying to hang on to houses that lost value during the economic downturn or trying to buy their first home. These grants extend beyond just federally owned and operated programs: many states have their own programs for low-income families, and some programs exist specifically to help minorities and women.

Federal Housing Programs
The federal government is the first stop for anyone seeking information about housing assistance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website provides key information for grant seekers. This includes not only the types of programs that are available, but also the process for obtaining the monetary assistance, and even examples of what good applications look like.

Grants through HUD are dependent upon what funding the department has available. The department will issue a Notice of Funding Availability on their website, and identifies which awards they have available for the year. Each grant program offers an application window, during which all applicants that meet the criteria are encouraged to apply.

There were over 20 grant programs offered by HUD for 2016. Many of these programs have already reached the end of their application windows. To see if there are any programs available that may fit your needs, check out HUDS Notice of Funding Availability page for 2016.

Most of HUDs grants are for municipalities and larger businesses who seek to build low-income housing. To help navigate through the sometimes confusing information, HUD provides a useful website designed to answer questions for individuals: Resources for Individuals. This website also contains links to useful information, including where to find information on housing vouchers (Section 8).

Additional Information from HUD That May Be Of Interest to Some Consumers
Local Homebuyer Programs. This page from HUD provides links for homebuyer programs available in every state. For more info, click here.

Housing Counseling. HUD requires anyone receiving a housing grant to take counseling classes. This link provides information on where you can locate a class near you. Visit now by clicking here.

First Time Home Buyers Information. This page helps new home buyers go through the steps of buying their first house. To learn more, click here.

Federal Housing Administration Information. The Federal Housing Administration helps low-income families get into homes, and helps subsidize the cost of getting a mortgage. If you are attempting to avoid foreclosure, the FHA also has programs to help keep you in your house. For more info, click here.

Check the website for even more opportunities. HUD's federal government branch rarely provides grants directly to individuals for the purpose of buying a home. Those seeking home buying assistance will want to check their state-managed HUD website. Those who are still looking for federally-managed home assistance programs should check the website.

Section 8 Housing Voucher applications. Housing vouchers provide low-income families with money to help subsidize the cost of rent. Not every apartment complex or rental property will accept Section 8 housing vouchers. It is up to individuals to check with the rental property they are seeking to occupy as to whether or not they will accept these vouchers. For more information, click here.

On the next page we will cover other grant opportunities and programs for women and minorities, and provide you with some ideas of how to find excellent programs in your local area.