Financial Struggles Can Be Helped With Subsidies

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, paying bills on time can be a challenge. Even the most regular bills, like rent or utilities can be difficult to meet and when there are late fees, court dates or eviction possibilities the stress and struggle can be even worse. Fortunately, there are options for those having trouble and assistance available from local, state, and national organizations.

Communicating with the Landlord

Contact your landlord or creditor first if you are having a financial problem. This is hard to do and sometimes even scary. But admitting you may need some help is crucial to solving the problem. Being honest and forthright about your financial problems may help you get an installment plan, a lower payment, or something else that can help, like doing work on the property in exchange for a deduction on the rent. If you are a good tenant, your landlord may do whatever it takes to give you assistance in your time of need, rather than losing rent to find a new tenant.

Local Level Assistance

If you are facing an eviction or a serious housing issue, there may be local resources available to you to help you stay in your rental. Some of these options are only short term solutions, so making sure you only use them as a stop-gap, rather than a permanent fix, is essential. Churches and charities often provide assistance to those who are facing eviction due to non-payment. The United Way, the Red Cross, local Catholic Charities and other organizations will help you find the assistance you need, as long as you have a way to pay your rent regularly.

If you are having trouble with utility bills, like electricity and phone, some local programs offer a reduction on utilities, particularly during the winter, when heat is needed no matter the cost. Sometimes the utility company itself can offer help in the form of extended payment plans and other organizations offer one time payments to those who qualify for their program.

State Assistance

At the state level, there are a variety of options available, depending on your state. Some organizations provide funds to prevent an eviction while others can help with security deposits and other fees so that homeless community members can get into stable housing. State programs are usually accessible through local agencies or directly through a state Department of Health and Human Services. There are more than 1,100 community action agencies throughout the United States that offer those with financial issues help. These agencies can help a family in need determine for what benefits they are qualified and how to get them.

Federal Assistance

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program is a federal program that helps nearly 1.5 million families every year with security deposits, rent, and vouchers. In addition, the department offers mediation services, useful if an eviction or other legal issue is pending, grants, and landlord evaluations. Although HUD cannot always prevent an eviction, sometimes they can help relocate a family into affordable housing in the area. Rental assistance through HUD is not just available for public housing, many times privately owned properties can be rented with their help as well.

Help is Available

The most essential piece of advice anyone struggling with rent or utility payments can get is to contact your landlord, utility company, and organizations that can help before the eviction notice comes, or the electricity gets turned off. There is often a lot of paperwork involved in getting assistance and being on top of it is critical to getting assistance on time and before anything bad happens. Seek out assistance from a variety of organizations so you know what your options are and how to benefit from them. Talk with the administrators of the organizations, be honest, and let them give you the tools you need to solve the problem at hand, and perhaps prevent future issues from occurring. Whether a renter looks for assistance from a local church or charity, a state department to apply for vouchers or other benefits, or federal grants or assistance from HUD, there are many groups that work to prevent homelessness and can help a family in their time of need.

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