The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

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Artwork by Robin Mead

If you are low income and disabled, living in affordable housing can solve so many of your problems! Yet living in affordable housing can also create so many new problems!

Here’s where you can find ideas, tips, secrets, and special policies for living in affordable housing. There are three common types of affordable housing: Housing Vouchers, Subsidized Apartments and “Low Income” Buildings.

Housing Vouchers

Affordable rent, and you can move around and live anywhere! You can live in many different kinds of houses and buildings. You can even take your voucher to a different state. Vouchers are a wonderful program, but they can also take a lot of time and energy and work to use. Guide to Using Your Voucher Without Losing Your Mind

Subsidized Apartments

Affordable rent, and you can apply even if you have $0 income. The same rent as having a voucher, but way, way less work, trouble and hassles. This section includes any type of building or property that has apartments funded by HUD or by USDA rural rental assistance. Guide to Life in Subsidized Apartments

“Low Income” or “Income Restricted” Properties

You will need to have some income. Not too much, but also not too little. Some “low income” properties are not all that cheap. Depending on the building and your income level, these buildings can be a good deal for some people sometimes.  This section includes “low income tax credits” buildings and other kinds of “income restricted” properties. Guide to Life in “Low Income” Buildings

Not in Affordable Housing Yet? 

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that Section 8 is impossible to get or that all the wait lists are closed or that you can’t find nice, safe, affordable housing through Section 8. It’s possible! It might just take a whole lot of persistence and a bit of pluck: Section 8 Guide for the Disabled and Plucky

Thanks for Reading

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

Updated January 2020. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

20 thoughts on “The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide”

  1. I bought a 1 bed 1 bath condo 10 yrs ago for $20,000 & had a mini stroke 5 yrs ago & a botched up rotator cuff surgery & left my arm unattached! I was told there was not enough bone to put a rod or extension bc he cut too much bone off! I found a Dr to put a donor’s tendon in it but wouldn’t help me sue the other Doctor so I had it done but gets infected a lot & painful & is on the same side I had my TIA. I live on a second floor & not able to carry my groceries up or walk my dog anymore & if a fire couldn’t get out quick enough & it’s 650 sq. ft so no exercise bc stuck up here! Other condos are selling for $55,000 & wondered if I got section 8 could I se it to move & buy something else? I tried to apply for Sec 8 & they said no bc I had a home! I was put on a list but never called it’s been 3 yrs now! I don’t even have washer & dryer hookups & can’t carry my laundry either to laundry mat with my Walker or cane! If I had a first floor I’d try to get outside more & walk little by little bc sitting on my couch or go to bed is it! I need help ASAP! Please!! Thank you for this awsome site!!
    Tracey

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    1. You could apply for a voucher for to rent another place or you could apply to subsidized buildings. You won’t be eligible for the homeownership program if you already own a home.

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  2. Hello. I am in need of some serious assistance! I’m a current section8 voucher holder and my landlord woke up 1 day and decided that he wanted to eradicate all current section8 tenants, starting with me due to my lease being expired. I wasn’t then given a 30-day notice on 4/13/20. My PHA is going along with the landlord. They gave me moving papers on 5/23/20, which are due to expire on 9/23/20, and told me that I have to vacate my current unit by 7/31/20 or else. I was informed by the PHA that the landlord has refused to renew his contract with the PHA. I have nowhere else to move to as housing isn’t plentiful and I am suffering from some current health issues which prevent me from being able to move at this time. Plus, I am a displaced worker so I literally cannot afford to move at present. I also have a 3-year old daughter with special needs who requires my attention constantly, making it nearly impossible to search for available Section8 rentals, which are already scarce. My PHA said that I’m in jeopardy of losing my voucher if I’m not moved out of my current unit by 7/31/20 and/or if I get evicted; as well as, termination from the program all-together. They also stated that they will not be rendering anymore payments to my current landlord on my behalf and that I would be responsible for whatever rents that are incurred if I stay beyond that date. I have also been informed that they will not allow any extensions of any kind! The PHA is acting as if they’re unaware of the Moratorium nor Covid-19 protections or maybe they just don’t care. I just don’t understand how both the PHA and the landlord are getting away with this! I am lost, confused and afraid! I’m now wondering what protections do I have, both during the pandemic and otherwise? Can someone PLEASE help!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you are in this situation.

      You might want to contact local tenant rights and legal aide organizations, they will know more about local laws and protections in your area:
      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/get-help-or-file-complaints-for-hud-housing-problems-disability/

      You could try a disability accommodation to extend your lease, at least for a few months. We’ve never had a reader make that request, but it doesn’t hurt to try, especially if properly documented with doctor’s letter… would need to get approved by both your landlord and then by the PHA. howtogeton.wordpress.com/sample-disability-accommodation-letters-housing/

      Most states are not processing evictions now…. so if you remain and rent is unpaid, you won’t be immediately evicted… but you will eventually, which could cause a loss of voucher, but…. given circumstances, you would likely be approved for a disability accommodation to keep your voucher even with the eviction… again, would require the documentation in the link above.

      Also, if the contract ends and you don’t get approved for a lease extension, even though eviction is delayed, you would still technically owe the full rent back later.

      For looking for a landlord to accept your voucher: https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/section-8-hud-housing-choice-vouchers/

      Do you live in an area with source of income protection? All of California plus…
      https://affordablehousingonline.com/source-of-income-antidiscrimination-laws

      If not….. PHA has no choice, they have to allow landlord to stop taking voucher.

      PHA has no authority to change the move out date… that needs to be worked out with landlord…. they can change when your voucher expires though… you can get many extensions on that… again this page has tools for requesting extensions… howtogeton.wordpress.com/sample-disability-accommodation-letters-housing/

      Hope something here helps🌷🌺 💗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Sleepy Girl. I just wanted to say Thank You for taking time out of your day to assist me with this matter. You are an AMAZING person and a kindred spirit! You have given me hope where I once didn’t have any. I will throughly investigate each and every lead that you provided me. I will also continue to update you on my progress here if that’s ok? I want to enlighten and hopefully be of assistance to others whom may be also experiencing similar situations as well. You are truly a beacon of light during this dark time. Thanks again!!

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    2. Most PHA will allow you to ‘port’ move to another city or state. You do have this option. You have to make sure you have enough time on your voucher to do so. HUD has implemented waivers due to COVID-19. One of the waivers allows PHA to give an additional time (extension) to voucher holders who are seeking another unit. Check with your PHA to see if the accepted this waiver.

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      1. I have a similar problem. are there any services to help with relocating? disabled, low income, and I don’t drive. I think the COVID-19 protection is for people who can’t pay the rent from job loss or hardship from it.

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  3. Hello, Can an alternate form of ID for disability housing application, such as a certified birth certificate, baptismal record, or other, be requested as an alternative/accommodation for someone who does not have a car, does not drive, does not have a state ID, and for whom the DMV creates too many disability related challenges such as lines, crowds, unpredictability, and this person with autism has an irrational fear of having a photo taken. Plus during the pandemic there are no appointments so waiting in a crowded line going out the door ( also cannot tolerate standing in the sun and is pretty much home bound) seems inevitable…thank you. I am applying on behalf of a my disabled adult child.,

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    1. Excellent question. I have never heard of anyone making this request. I am not certain of the answer… it does not hurt to try. You would want to make a formal written request along with a doctor’s letter for best chance of success.

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  4. I have a “rent stabilized” apartment that provides reasonable incremental rent increases determined by law every 2 years, automatic lease renewal, and other rent protections.

    And my apartment is beautiful a 1950s garden apartment a small 2 bedroom, hardwood floors, a terrace, eat in kitchen, “pet friendly” etc.

    Craigslist used furniture, and the dumpster “trash to treasure” I fixed my home up on the cheap beautiful things VERY low prices.

    I LOVE MY HOME!

    My place is not exactly cheap but well below market I am VERY fortunate.

    According to State law I may live here forever and I may do that senior citizen apartments are on the horizon but my rent stabillzed apartment may be the better option.

    Regretfully rent protection laws have weakened over decades what had been luxury rentals built in the 1940s, 1950s went “co/op” in the 1970s – 1980s and are now costly real estate parcels.

    Many disabled people live with relatives or in group homes I feel fortunate to have “my own home my own household” a lease, a car, GEICO, etc., Without rent stabilization laws I would most likely be renting a room elsewhere, or living in a group home.

    We need more rent protection laws for all the disabled, the working class, etc.,

    NOT everyone can be a homeowner and so the next best thing is a “rent stabilized apartment” with automatic lease renewal, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Bernard, maybe you can help me out I’m a 42yr old woman who has suffered with epilepsy since I was 8yrs old
      presently I live with my parents (both seniors) I been trying to find a disabled housing residence when I finish collegebut most group homes I checked out only accept older people like nursing homes or group homes for kids and teens nothing for disabled people of my age group. if you can help me out id appreciate it if not thanks anyway:)
      Lisa

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would like to tell you just how much you have helped me in learning much more about my housing situation than any other place that I have visited. Very helpful and beneficial advice that one, me, can truly use and apply immediately in our situations. You provide incredibly important and helpful advice to people that have no idea about housing, how it works, what is available, how to find it, and the knowledge to negotiate and maneuver their way through the system of government housing, etc.. Thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Is there any chance you could take a look at my accommodations request letters? I need feedback. Or do you know of somewhere I could get feedback from somebody who knows what they’re doing?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a concern about privacy. I had to set up a second facebook account to maintain privacy. While closed groups do not add postings to the Facebook timeline, their membership is visible to the public. I hope this works.
        I joined from the second account but I don’t know how long it will take to become a member.

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