You found a place to live – now you just have to figure out how to get it and pay for it.
Most landlords and apartment complexes require a completed application in order to consider renting to you. You’ll need to take along some important information with you when you go apply for a place to live. Many will want to see a good credit history, pay stub, references or a tax return to determine your ability to pay. Be prepared to provide these items at the time you fill out the application. And, before you sign a lease, make sure you understand the terms. How much notice will you have to give before moving out? Is there a penalty if you are late on the rent? Do your homework BEFORE you commit.
If you are seeking low-income or subsidized housing, you’ll need to apply through a local or regional housing agency. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of contact information for housing agencies throughout Virginia. Options for subsidized housing include housing choice vouchers, Section 8 and public housing. More information is available on HUD’s Web site.
You have a job. Do you make enough to cover living expenses? Can you afford the place you like best? To answer those questions, you’ll need to assess your income and create a budget. Think long and hard about how much you are prepared to spend on rent, utilities, parking and other expenses associated with living in your own place. You may need to find a roommate to help with the expenses, or you may need to keep looking until you can find something more affordable.
Fortunately, there are resources available that can make living on your own more affordable.
Take a look at this comprehensive resource on assisting foster youth in finding and paying for housing from the Casey Family Programs’ “It’s My Life” series.
The Child Welfare League of America offers information about HUD resources for youth leaving foster care here.