There are a lot of housing opportunities out there for people who are low-income or living on disability. Some of them are not easy to find.
You may have to be creative and open-minded and willing to think outside the box. You may have to wait some time, travel some distance, be patient or be persistent. Keep at it. There is a good home out there for you.
Cheap & Good #1
From what I have been told, Section 8 Housing Vouchers are the cheapest and best housing program. Get on the waiting list and be prepared to follow a million rules and wait forever. Some day you will be happy you did.
Cheap & Good #2
HUD housing is also supposed to be cheap and good.
Cheap & Good #3
Public housing is also supposed to be cheap. No promises on the good part.
Cheap & Good #4
USDA Rural Development has affordable apartments available for people who are low income and wish to live in rural areas.
Cheap & Good #5
Volunteers of America offers affordable housing apartments in various locations.
Cheap & Good #6
Most state housing authorities offer reduced rent housing for people who are low income. Contact your state housing authority for a list of what is available.
Cheap & Good #7
Many communities have nonprofit programs that help low-income families buy or rent houses. Dial 2-1-1 on your phone and ask what is available.
Cheap & Good #8
If you have a mental health diagnosis and history of homelessness, many Supportive Housing programs are great! I can’t seem to find any kind of national link, so I don’t know what to tell you here. Try Googling the name of your state or city and the words “Supportive Housing” or “Supported Housing.” Also, look for programs called “Housing First.”
Cheap & Good #9
If your condition is severe and you are unable to care for yourself, Medicaid provides nursing home care in every state. You do not need to be on Medicaid right now. Even if you do not qualify for regular Medicaid, you may still qualify for this. Quality of state nursing homes will vary. Some private homes set aside a certain number of “Medicaid beds” and these will often be nicer. This does not have to be a permanent move.
If your condition is severe, but you do not need 24-hour care, Medicaid provides Assisted Living housing in some states. Again, you do not need to be on Medicaid now to qualify.
Cheap & Good #10
Actually, cheap and GREAT. If you are community minded, there are many groovy, interesting, creative communities out there of every size, shape and flavor – including eco-villages, communes, land trusts, cooperative houses, collective farms, spiritual communities, and many more. Learn more about Intentional Communities.
Cheap & Good #11
Most people on disability don’t live alone. Unless you are in a really good housing program, it’s usually just not realistic. I’ve had good success living with housemates and have met some wonderful this way. I find it takes some time and care to find the right people who are really a good match. How to Find Wonderful Housemates & Caregivers
Sleepy Girl Housing Tips
Housing tip # 1:
Attorney Ken Casanova has written this excellent article on how these different housing programs work along with info on how to apply.
Housing tip # 2:
Some housing programs for low-income seniors will also allow people with disabilities or people who are almost seniors. They don’t tell you this. You have to call and ask. Housing programs for seniors and people with disabilities are often nicer than general public assistance housing.
Housing tip # 3:
Many of the programs above have waiting lists. Long waiting lists. Get on as many as you can. Get on some in different cities, counties or states. Get in wherever you can, and then you can start to upgrade as others open up. I know one woman who waited fifteen years. She’s got a great place now though!
Housing tip # 4:
Try getting on waiting lists in other areas. It can take decades to get housing in some areas, and just a few days in others. I’ve met people in New York City and Chicago who got shut out of waiting lists for many years. On the other hand, I met two different people in Albuquerque who got into two different very nice housing programs with no waiting lists at all! Waiting lists in rural or isolated areas may be much shorter than big cities.
Housing tip # 5:
Sometimes waiting lists are closed. Especially for Section 8. If the waiting lists are all closed, don’t give up hope, just get scrappy. Keep calling. They will open eventually, and then close again. Climb through the window in the moment you can.
Housing tip #6:
Some areas have more than one agency that offers Section 8 vouchers. Make sure to get on all the waiting lists. There are also special Section 8 Housing Vouchers set aside just for people with disabilities. Ask if this is available in your area.
Housing tip #7
If you are on SSI, it’s important to learn the SSI housing regs and make sure you are paying the right amount of rent.
Housing tip #8
Some people avoid Section 8 because they think they will have to live in a Section 8 Housing Project. No, no, no. Almost any landlord can accept Section 8. You just have to talk them into it.
Housing tip #9
I had so many tips on How to Find Wonderful Housemates & Caregivers that I had to create a whole separate page just for that topic.
Housing tip # 10
Housing tip # 11
Housing tip #12
There are several Facebook groups for people seeking Spoonie roommates: here’s one for CFS/ME/Lyme/Fibro and Invisible Illnesses, here’s one for Environmental Illness and here’s another one for Environmental Illness and here’s one for Lyme Disease. This is the Facebook page for DFEND, is a new nonprofit group with a goal of creating housing where patients with ME and other chronic illnesses could live in non-toxic, quiet, healing environments.
Housing tip # 13
If you are unable to care for yourself, check out: How To Be Homebound. You may be able to find a way to get a caregiver, which can give you more options for ways to live.
Housing tip # 14
If you can’t get into housing because you have pets. Many housing programs will allow pets with a doctor’s letter stating that this is a disability service animal or a psychiatric service animal or an emotional support animal. (No joke: I just read a story about a woman in California who got to keep her psychiatric pig)