How to Apply for Rental Assistance

Written by andrea helaine
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How to Apply for Rental Assistance
The federal government provides help with rent to families and individuals in need. (Dockside Housing image by Peter Jarvis from

Rental assistance programs help families and individuals who encounter a financial struggle whether employed, unemployed, disabled or on a fixed income. Programs such as rental assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development provide a voucher to help pay for all or part of your rent, depending on your financial need and the cost of your rent. If you need help paying your rent, you may consider applying for rent assistance through HUD's section 8 program.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pay Stubs
  • Previous Year's Tax Return
  • Utility Bills

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Gather your financial information, such as your pay stubs, disability benefits or other income information. Include a copy of bills, such as credit card statements, utility payments and other bills on which you make payments. Get a copy of your last three months of bank statements from your bank or make copies of statements sent to you. Provide a copy of your rental agreement if you already have a home that you are renting. Make a copy of your previous year’s tax returns if you filed.

    How to Apply for Rental Assistance
    Providing a copy of your financial documentation is a necessary part of the application process. (Checking credit card statment image by Elzbieta Sekowska from
  2. 2

    Search for a subsidised apartment or other housing option if you need a place to live by going to the Department of Housing and Urban Development website (see Resources) and clicking "Rental Assistance" then "Search for an Apartment." Subsidized housing provides reduced rent for low-income tenants.

  3. 3

    Go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development website (see Resources) and choose “Find Rental Assistance.” Follow the link to the new page and choose “Housing Choice Voucher Program” or “Section 8.” You will then be linked to the public housing agency list.

  4. 4

    Choose the state in which you reside from the drop-down menu or the country map. You will be redirected to a listing by city or you can click on “ordered by zip” to search by postcode.

  5. 5

    Write down the contact information for the housing authority office in your area.

  6. 6

    Contact your local agency for an interview for assistance and ask if you need to fill out a preliminary application. Some agencies have a waiting list, so you may need to fill out a preliminary application before receiving an interview.

  7. 7

    Fill out the application if required. You will need to provide information, such as your first and last name, ethnicity, race, disability, as well as contact information. Provide information for each household member, information about family income and assets, if you are disabled or homeless and provide supplementary documentation.

  8. 8

    Arrive at your appointment early and make sure that you have your financial information, your social security card and driver’s license or other state identification with you.

    How to Apply for Rental Assistance
    Arrive early to make sure that you can keep your appointment with the local housing authority. (clock image by Elena Nabokova from

Tips and warnings

  • If you are denied assistance, ask for a referral to another agency or organisation in your area that might help you with rent payments.
  • Some rental assistance offices require that you fill out documentation during your interview so make sure that you ask when you call to make your appointment.
  • Avoid waiting until you are behind on your payments by talking with your landlord and applying immediately if your financial situation has changed to prevent eviction.

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