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Guide to Finding Affordable & Cheap Rent Solutions

The cost of housing has skyrocketed in the last five years, putting a heavy burden on working families trying to make ends meet. Financial experts say you should keep your rent expenses under 30 percent of your income. But for many families, especially those living in or near big cities, that can seem like an impossible task.


Unfortunately, as rents continue to rise and wages stay flat, affordability has become a major issue. In fact, even some software engineers at Facebook say they can’t afford rents in San Francisco where the average one-bedroom commands $3,360 a month.

In this article, we will discuss a few ways to find cheap rent no matter where you live. Here’s what we will explore:

  • Government assistance
  • Subsidized housing
  • Public housing
  • Government vouchers (Section 8)

Government assistance

The U.S. Government offers several assistance programs for renters, including HUD, Section 8 and public housing options. Government rent assistance programs are available for the following renters:

  • Low-income families
  • Senior citizens
  • The disabled

To be eligible for government assistance, applicants must be within the income limit, which differs depending on your location and the size of your family. For privately owned rent subsidization, application must also meet other requirements set forth by the property owner.


Subsidized housing

The government will pay private property owners to provide low-income housing for the needy. This is known as government subsidized housing. You can search for subsidized apartments and rental housing at usa.gov/finding-home.

Public housing

Independent government and nonprofit agencies have been set up all across the country to build and manage low-income housing projects. Public housing includes apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. Some of these agencies offer creative financing, such as rent-to-own programs, to help renters transition into homeowners.

These agencies may also contact your current landlord and even visit your current residence to determine if you’re a suitable tenant.

Government vouchers (Section 8)

Section 8 housing is one of the more successful, and desirable, government housing assistance programs. With Section 8, renters can choose where to live and the government will pay a portion of their rent via a voucher system. Voucher programs allow low-income families to live in nicer communities with better schools and public facilities. However, it is important to note that not all landlords accept Section 8.


With Section 8 vouchers, the government will determine your need level based on income, family size and local housing costs, and set a monthly subsidy accordingly. You are then responsible for the difference in rent. Section 8 allows renters to choose from apartments, condos, townhomes or single-family residences. But all properties must meet minimum health and safety standards.

To apply for government rental assistance, contact your local public housing agency and complete an application. Note that many of these agencies have waiting lists and immediate housing or assistance may not be available.

Jonah Jacobs

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