How Pansy Found a New Home Through USDA

Artwork: Robin Mead

Subsidized housing is available in rural counties through the USDA’s Rural Development Rental Assistance program.

Many of these projects have shorter wait lists than other housing programs. (See links below for where to apply).

I got into my current apartment in 3 months.

I have a nice one-bedroom apartment in a small rural town. It is well managed, safe and quiet, but health care and other services are limited. Also, the local grocery store doesn’t deliver.

The apartment complex is for low-income elderly or disabled people. It is managed by a non-profit and the local housing authority. It was built with a loan through the USDA and rents are subsidized so it is affordable for people who are low income.

I pay roughly one third of my income for rent and utilities are included. It is similar to getting a HUD apartment, just in a very rural area. All costs associated with your service or emotional support animal and medical expenses, along with income, are used to determine your monthly rent. If you have medical expenses or a service animal, make sure to list these costs as this will lower your rent.

The USDA funds several types of housing programs and can also help with loans for home ownership in very rural counties. If you want to find a subsidized apartment in a rural area or find out about their home loan programs you could contact your state’s USDA Rural Development office.

Learn More

Here’s where you can find a map of USDA apartments.

More options! If you go to this Search by Zipcode page, you can type in just the first three numbers of your zipcode and you will be shown more opportunities in surrounding areas.

At some point, the USDA had a housing voucher program. It’s unclear if this program is still going on. Can’t hurt to ask!

The USDA guidelines on qualifying for “disability” housing are fairly open-ended. They do not specifically state that you need to be approved for Social Security or another form of disability. You may be able to qualify with a doctor’s letter.

USDA housing is very similar to HUD Section 8. This page is about HUD, but most of it also applies to USDA: Extra Special Benefits for People with Disabilities

This one too: How to Calculate (and sometimes lower) Rent

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