Take the Right Steps to Affordable Housing

Not everyone is in the same financial position. For those that have an especially low income, it can be hard to manage standard expenses like housing costs. When people have a hard time keeping a roof over their heads, it can feel stressful and overwhelming. You’re not on your own if you are dealing with this problem. Luckily, getting affordable housing that is within your budget may be easier than you think. You just need to know the steps to take to get you in the right direction.

How to Get on The Right Path Towards Affordable Housing

When it comes to affordable housing, a lot of people don’t know what that means for their situation. The first thing that you should do is get a crystal clear understanding of your current financial setup. In order to get this view, you will need to make a budget. You may be wondering, “How do I even make a budget?” Luckily, the answer is pretty simple.

Making a Budget

When it comes to making a budget, you first want to know how much money you are bringing in each month. Whether you work randomly or have a consistent work schedule, you need to keep track of what’s coming in.

For example, let’s say you work a standard 9 AM to 5 PM job, Monday to Friday. This is 40 hours a week. If you make an hourly rate of $9.25, then every week (before taxes) you will be bringing in $370. That means every month (since there are four weeks in a month) you will be making $1,480. Let’s say that after taxes (roughly) you make $1,000 every month.

Now that you know what your money looks like coming in, you will want to consider how much you are spending. You will first want to list out all of your necessary expenses like bills. In this example, let’s say you have:

  • Cell phone bill: $75 a month
  • Car note: $125 a month
  • Car insurance: $50 a month
  • Groceries: $400 a month

Besides these necessary bills every month, you will want to account for non-essentials like:

  • Streaming subscriptions: $50 a month
  • Gym membership: $10 a month
  • Coffee: $75 a month

You will want to add up all of your expenses. That means including necessities and non-essentials, every month you spend $785 a month.

Understanding Your Budget and Affordable Housing

Now that you know the amount of money you are bringing in and your spending, you can better handle your next steps toward affordable housing. For example, if you only make roughly $1,000 a month after taxes and spend $785 a month, you only have $215 extra dollars a month that you can put towards savings or spend on other items. By getting your budget together, you are able to see this information clearly. It can help you know what it means to have affordable housing for your specific situation.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has its own definition of what it means for a household to have affordable housing. According to the HUD definition, a household must spend 30% or less of its monthly gross income on housing costs. This definition includes utilities along with housing costs! Keeping this definition in mind, you should aim to spend no more than $444 a month on housing costs if your gross monthly income is $1,480. Considering that the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the U.S. is $1,659 a month, you would likely have a hard time finding a place to live on your existing income.

Resources to Help You Find Affordable Housing

Now that you have a good foundation of knowledge to build upon, you will want to consider some resources that can help you towards affordable housing. Some popular options include the following:


Online resources are great because you can access them as long as you have a valid internet connection. Benefits.gov is a federal website. The government understands that there are so many programs out there. In fact, there are over 1,000! It can be hard for people in need to navigate what’s available. This website has a lot of information and it allows users to review the available opportunities in a couple of different ways. Users can either use a Benefit Finder tool or search by specific filters.

When it comes to the Benefit Finder tool, users can fill out a survey that will ask for details like household information, income level, etc. Users can choose how much information they feel comfortable sharing. However, the more detailed the answers, the more specific the results. Once the user is done, they will get a list of opportunities that may be a good fit for their exact situation. Keep in mind that this list is not a guarantee that the programs will be able to help. Instead, it just provides options that are designed to help those in similar situations. The only true way to see if you can benefit from a program is by directly submitting an application. On the other hand, users can also search through programs through filters like category or agency. For example, people in need of housing support can look under the housing category or look for support available from HUD, which is a government agency.


Another popular online resource is 211.org. This is an informational website that contains details on support opportunities and general knowledge of a variety of issues that Americans deal with. There’s information on this site whether a person needs housing help with utilities, housing payments (like rent and a mortgage), or whatever it may be. Millions of connections have happened thanks to this website. These connections helped or even prevented people from dealing with further housing insecurity/homelessness. If you reach out to a representative from the site, you should have personal details ready. That’s because they will only be able to provide specialized advice once they have your relevant information. This could include details like your current housing situation, your finances, etc.

Your Closest Public Housing Authority (PHA)

There are PHAs all across America. These agencies deal with the management and administration of programs. In fact, people come here to submit free applications for specific housing programs like Section 8 or public housing. They are also knowledgeable about their community and can provide not only information about federal assistance but could also help people in need of local opportunities.

Affordable Housing Programs to Consider

You have a better understanding of your budget, and you know some resources to check out, but you should also know about some support opportunities that could help. Popular affordable housing support options include the following:

Besides these housing-specific opportunities, you may also find that you benefit from getting support through other programs even though they don’t focus on housing. For example, let’s say that you have a hard time with the cost of insurance. If you have Medicaid, the money you save from this program can be put towards other costs like housing expenses! Other programs that you can consider include the following:


Not every household has affordable housing expenses. By the HUD definition, affordable housing means housing costs (including utilities) are no more than 30% of a household’s monthly gross income. It can be hard to find housing that works for your financial situation. Before reviewing different ways to get housing support, you want to make sure you understand your budget. This clear picture of your financial situation can help you know the goals you should be aiming for. Some resources you can check out when trying to get affordable housing include:

  • Your local Public Housing Authority (PHA)
  • Benefits.Gov
  • 211.Org

Besides these resources, you may benefit from checking out some housing support opportunities like the following:

  • Supportive Housing
  • Section 8
  • Public Housing

While the resources and opportunities listed above can be helpful, there are still other options that may be able to provide support for other problems. Even if they don’t help with housing directly, they could free up some of your current expenses that you then can put towards housing costs. Some other programs include:

There are so many different options out in the world that could help. You just need to know where to step in the right direction!