Third in a series
At some point, your son or daughter will ready to move out, or maybe you will be ready for them to move out, but they are comfortable continuing to live with you. What are some of your options? In this post, as well as upcoming posts, we’ll look at some of the options and models being developed.
The first and “easiest” option to get started with independent housing in the community is to rent an apartment, either alone or with a roommate or two.
One of the greatest benefits of renting is the flexibility. The lease you will sign will be for one year. If you decide that you don’t like the location, your neighbors, the amount of rent, or get along with your roommate, you can always make a plan to make a change. Other benefits of renting include possible rent subsidies (discussed further below), less responsibility than owning a home, and possible amenities like a pool or social center.
So how do you find an apartment?
These websites offer many details and photos. It will be a great way to learn about local housing costs before you start making personal visits. You can also print any of these listings with pictures and discuss them with knowledgeable people who are supporting you in your search.
If you click on Advanced Search on the former and Advanced Options on the latter you can be more specific about the different variables of your search including whether the landlord accepts a housing choice voucher (better known as Section 8) or will consider the tenant’s income in determining the amount of rent (also known as “subsidized” rent).
Both a housing choice voucher and subsidized rent can help make renting affordable for people whose income qualifies them for these benefits.
To receive a Section 8 voucher will take determination and persistence because the waiting lists can be long. First, you must apply to a public housing agency (PHA) that has opened its waiting list for Section 8 vouchers. A PHA will only open the ability to get on the wait list when their wait list gets low, which can take years. Community Housing Network has a Section 8 Alert list that you can subscribe to and be notified via email when a Michigan PHA will be opening their wait list.
When you’re able to apply and your application is accepted, the PHA will call you to gather additional information when your name gets to the top of the wait list. (Please note: If you apply and are not contacted by the PHA, you are not on the waiting list.) You must follow that PHA’s instructions to apply. If you have a disability, you may ask for assistance in applying, and receive accommodations of timing requirements, where you can live and other rules.
Once you receive a Section 8 voucher, you will pay 30% of your adjusted gross monthly income toward your rent and the voucher will cover the rest of the rent in units where the owner agrees to rent under the program. (There is a maximum rent allowable.) As long as you remain income eligible and don’t break the good conduct rules that apply to voucher holders, you can retain the Section 8 voucher. A Section 8 voucher, unlike subsidized apartments, is portable, meaning you can take it anywhere where there is a PHA in the United States. You may also be eligible for other programs, for instance the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (an employment and savings incentive program for low-income families that have Section 8 vouchers or live in public housing) or the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Key to Home Ownership program.
While Section 8 vouchers are considered the “golden ticket” of rental subsidies, finding housing with “subsidized” rent can also help stretch your income. Again, you will pay 30% of your adjusted gross monthly income toward your rent and the subsidy will be paid directly to the landlord. The big difference between a housing choice voucher and subsidized rent is that the voucher stays with you and is portable, while a rent subsidy applies only while you live in that particular rental unit, and remain income and conduct eligible.
Previous posts in this series:
Where will they live when I’m gone? – March 25, 2015
Get started! Make a plan for long-term housing – March 19, 2015