Financial Resources to Rent and Buy a Home



This article will introduce you to housing supports for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, and give you tips to help you navigate the process.

What are the different types of housing supports and subsidies available to children and adults who have autism and other developmental disabilities?

Most communities offer several types of housing assistance. These include rental assistance and subsidies and home choice vouchers which can be used towards rent or mortgage. Additionally rural areas have specific subsidy and voucher programs. There are also specific home buyer programs for individual and families who have disabilities.

How do I find the local housing resources to rent and buy a home in my community?

To find local rental and home buyer assistance you need to identify federal, state and local programs. In order to do this start with the government agencies that manages these programs.

  • Local public housing authorities that have their own apartment buildings, town home and houses where rent is subsidized at that specific location. Subsidized rent means what the person pays is based on their income usually about 30% of their net income after some exclusions from income are made. Net income is calculated by allowing some income to be disregarded. For example some out of pocket medical expenses can be deducted from your income.
  • Some buildings have their own subsidies so that all the tenants receive rental assistance. You may know of buildings in your area that are designated for seniors and persons with disabilities. The person’s share of the rent is calculated similarly to public housing.
  • Housing Choice Vouchers are offered to individuals and families that can be used to rent certain apartments and houses in their local communities. Families may move to another state without losing their housing assistance as long as they notify the PHA ahead of time and meet the termination requirements of the current lease.
  • In some communities home choice vouchers can be used to pay a mortgage enabling low income individuals and families to become home owners. Like other subsidies, what the individual or family pays as their share of the rent or mortgage is about 30% of net income.

Advocacy tips on applying for housing assistance

  1. Call and check the websites of your local public housing authority (PHA) and surrounding PHAs to see when they are accepting applications for their wait lists.
  2. Apply for public housing and section 8 vouchers from your local and surrounding public housing authorities when waiting lists open up.
  3. Always apply even if you think you are not eligible. There are many different programs for low and moderate income individuals and families and there may be one that is right for you.
  4. Keep your application updated as requested by the PHAs. If you move notify any of the PHAs where you have an application of your new address.
  5. Complete any requests to update your information when requested. One of the biggest reasons people are taken off wait list is that they didn’t complete requests for updated information.
  6. If you have a disability make sure to note it on your application as there are times when persons with disabilities are pulled to the top of the waiting list.
  7. If you need a larger or more expensive apartment due to your disability than is normally allowed by the area market rate do a Request for Exception Payment Standards for Persons with Disabilities as a Reasonable Accommodation through your public housing authority or their designated agent.

Where do I go for more information?

The main source of information for all types of rental and home buyer assistance programs is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The websites below take you to your state and local offices so that you can find where to apply for these programs. Information on the web about assistance offered through rural development programs with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are listed below as well.

Rural Housing Assistance and Subsidies

Recommend this content Financial Resources to Rent and Buy a Home

Date posted: April 11, 2012. Content created by The Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University. Last updated: October 2, 2012.

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