To apply for public housing or renter's assistance, including the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, applicants may contact the nearest Public Housing Authority office. To apply for mortgage assistance to help avoid foreclosure, homeowners may contact the Federal Housing Administration's Making Home Affordable program.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contracts with more that 2,400 local Housing Authority offices to help people obtain emergency housing, financial assistance to pay rent and access to public housing. The HUD website lists contact information for all public housing authority agencies nationwide.
The application process begins with a pre-eligibility screening to ensure applicants meet income requirements. If applicants qualify during the screening, they are usually put on a housing waiting list. Programs often give preference to applicants who are 62 years or older, are U.S. Armed Services veterans, have children or who participate in local welfare-to-work programs.
The Making Home Affordable program, administered by HUD and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, provides assistance to homeowners unable to pay their mortgages. The Making Home Affordable website offers information about six mortgage assistance programs, including the application process and eligibility requirements for each program. To begin the process for any of the mortgage assistance programs, homeowners may call the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline and speak with a housing expert to identify the most appropriate program for their needs.