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Paying for / Apply for Housing

life_findahome_thmbYou found a place to live – now you just have to figure out how to get it and pay for it.

Applying for housing

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.

Paying for housing

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.

  • Education and Training Vouchers can be used to pay for room and board while you are in school.
  • Section 8 housing vouchers and Family Unification Program vouchers (FUP) are available to low-income individuals and families who qualify through local housing agencies.
  • Many rent assistance and subsidy programs can be found through www.211virginia.org or your local housing agency.
  • Applying for assistance with utilities and food can help free up money to pay the rent.

For practitioners

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.

A major initiative of The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
Virginia's Community Colleges
Funded in part by the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation