Housing Assistance Grants
Housing assistance grants might be an option that can help you with a home purchase or with the renovations necessary for your home. These grants are designed to support current and potential homeowners in an effort to build a strong real estate market in the United States. If you qualify for one of these grants, you can take advantage of the opportunity for financial support from the government. Government grants are available to first-time homebuyers, to families, to seniors and to other categories of individuals and families in order to be able to afford the costs of homeownership.
The U.S. government awards grants to qualified individuals and organizations in an effort to improve the public good and to stimulate the economy, so your eligibility for a housing assistance grant is considered based on your future potential as a homeowner. Grants are different from loans in that loans must be repaid, typically with additional interest as well.
Housing assistance grants and loans are primarily distributed and managed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You will also find locally-specific housing assistance opportunities through your state government and local county government offices. Grants are often awarded from the federal level down to the state or even local level to be handled locally.
What Are Housing Assistance Grants?
The federal government awards grants in an effort to support community building. These grants are usually awarded to state and local governments, to local nonprofits or universities and to organizations or institutions planning major projects that will support the local community. Individuals are awarded grants in an effort to lower expenses and to become self-sufficient, but these are not to be seen as “free money” or a way to pay your bills entirely. These grants are awarded to try to help residents in times of need and to improve the local community and economy.
Housing assistance opportunities exist for a variety of groups, but many are available for low- to moderate-income individuals or families in an effort to help those residents to secure affordable and safe housing. Housing assistance can generally range from homelessness emergency housing to public housing to federal loans for mortgage financing and more. Wherever you are on your housing needs, there is likely to be some sort of financial support you can avail yourself of in your area.
Who Can Get Housing Assistance Grants?
Housing assistance grants are available for many different types of people in different situations where they might require additional financial assistance. Whether you are an individual or a family, a first-time homebuyer or a senior, you might qualify for one or more housing grant opportunities through the federal government.
Many grants are awarded from the federal government to the local or state governments to then appropriately award grants locally to most improve local communities.
Many grants that are awarded to individuals are made in an effort to improve health and safety standards through home modifications and improvements. The following are common types of housing assistance grants and who might qualify to receive them on an individual basis:
- First-Time Homebuyers who have low to moderate incomes can receive help with down payments, financing and education through the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program. Additionally, HUD offers the Homeownership Voucher Program to help low-income residents to afford monthly mortgage payments and other costs of homeownership.
- Seniors might be eligible for grants to make home modifications to enable them to stay at home longer while adjusting to limited physical abilities. Small changes that can improve usability and accessibility might be covered by these grants.
- Veterans might also be eligible for home modification grants to enable them to increase their accessibility at home. These grants can help a veteran with the physical transition upon returning home.
- Rural residents can obtain rent assistance from HUD and the USDA for help sourcing and financing affordable housing and for housing repairs or modification. Grants and loans are offered to developers and to multi-family property owners to provide rent assistance to qualified low-income families or individuals in need.
- Individuals or families in emergency situations can benefit from Emergency Solution Grants that provide outreach, emergency shelter, rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention and other services to members of the community who are experiencing homelessness or who are in danger of becoming homeless.
- Native Americans can receive federal financing for housing counseling, self-sufficiency services, energy auditing and for the creation and improvement of residential organizations.
Applying For Grants
Each grant will have its own application requirements and standards, so it is vital that you thoroughly research the program and determine the information you need and the documents you might have to provide. Make sure you have all your necessary information before you begin your application. Remember that grants and loans are different, so if you are seeking a grant, be sure to communicate that clearly to your local, state or federal housing representative.
Grant applications often have specific application deadlines and timeframes within which new applications are accepted. Be sure to confirm the dates for the specific grants or programs that you want to apply for so you do not miss a deadline.
Government Grant Scams
Beware the many scams that exist that claim to offer government grants or “free money” because you have paid your taxes on time or for some other arbitrary reason. These are scams and do not come from the government nor from any reputable lenders. You will often see them as advertisements or you might even receive a telephone call with someone offering free money in exchange for your personal information.
Do not ever provide your checking account information, your Social Security Number (SSN) or other personal details unless you are completely sure the form or application is going to a verifiable and valid source. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers extensive information on different types of scams and how to avoid falling into those traps. You can also file a complaint with the FTC if you have been contacted by a suspicious person or have witnessed any suspicious activity that could be a scam.