Housing costs make up a huge part of our budget. The federal government provides funds through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which you may recognize as Section 8. The program pays for a portion of your rent directly to the landlord, leaving you with a discounted monthly rent payment.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help cover your heating and cooling costs. The federal government issues grants to states and the local government oversees the issuance of benefits.
Since states run the LIHEAP, the eligibility regulations vary from area to area. Some places only provide one type of benefit, such as Colorado offering only heating benefits and Puerto Rico offering only cooling benefits.
The Lifeline program provides discounted telephone and internet services. The government will pay for a portion of your bill each month that you qualify for assistance. To qualify, you must meet income requirements and get services from a participating provider.
The Rural House Repair Loans and Grants program provides funds to rural-area owners who need assistance improving their homes. You might qualify for funding if you are elderly and have a limited income.
Many states have grants for first-time homebuyers that help reduce down payment requirements, closing costs, and interest charges. For example, most homebuyers need to put 20 percent of the purchase price down to qualify for a loan. With government-backed programs, you might be able to purchase a home for zero to six percent down.
Besides helping pay for shelter and utilities, the government also has programs to cover a portion of your living costs, like food and health care.