Action Line: You may qualify for rent assistance
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Friday, September 14, 2012
9/14/12 at 4:23 AM
Dear Action Line: Where can I get help paying my rent? They've cut back at work and we are running out of savings. - O.T., Tulsa.
The most basic of human needs is a safe and affordable place to live. Whether you're looking to buy or rent, USA.gov has resources to help you select and pay for a variety of housing options. It offers the following on "renting."
Help with rent: If you struggle to make rent payments, you can often find assistance from the local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office.
HUD: The HUD agency, nationally, is organized in 10 regions, and Oklahoma is part of its Region 6. Oklahoma is divided into two field areas, with offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Tulsa-area counties of jurisdiction are Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington.
HUD's Tulsa field office: The field office is located in Williams Center Tower II, Two W. Second St., Suite 400. Sharon Gordon-Ribeiro is the field office director, and can be reached at 918-292-8900.
Subsidized apartments: HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. To apply, contact or visit the management office of each apartment building that interests you. Search for a HUD-subsidized apartment at tulsaworld.com/HUDsubsidizedApt
Housing choice vouchers: The "housing choice voucher program" is HUD's major program for helping very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. As housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. See a fact sheet on housing vouchers at tulsaworld.com/HUDhousingvouchers
Housing voucher eligibility: This is determined by the Public Housing Agency (PHA) serving your area. It is based on the total annual gross income and family size, and is limited to U.S. citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. The family's income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. A PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
The PHA collects information on family income, assets and family composition and verifies this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and uses the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment. If the PHA determines your family is eligible, it puts your name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you and issue to you a housing voucher.
Using HUD's 2012 Median Family Income Documentation System tulsaworld.com/MFIdocumentation, the 2012 MFI for Tulsa County is $60,400 - and 50 percent of that is $30,200 and 30 percent of that is $18,120.
Original Print Headline: You may qualify for help paying your rent
Submit Action Line questions by calling 918-699-8888, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing them to Tulsa World Action Line, P.O. Box 1770, Tulsa, OK 74102-1770.