Learn About Housing Government Grants

If you are struggling to afford your housing costs, you may qualify for assistance through a government grant. Additionally, you may be able to receive help with other monthly expenses. If you are already receiving benefits from an income-based government program, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you will likely qualify for most housing grants.

When learning more about government grants, it is essential to know that you may need to meet additional eligibility requirements other than income-based qualifications. For example, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) provides financial aid towards tuition and housing to college students. Therefore, you must be a student in order to qualify for the FSEOG.

What is a government grant?

A government grant is a financial award that is offered to qualifying individuals for business or personal purposes. Unlike loans, grants do not generally need to be repaid. However, there are a few cases in which grants must be repaid.

If a grant is not used for its intended purpose, the grant will likely be automatically converted into a loan and you will be responsible for the repayment of that loan. If you are a student that qualified for and received a Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity grant but you failed to attend the minimum number of classes required for the grant, your grant would then be converted to a loan with the Department of Education.

While every type of government grant has its own set of eligibility requirements, most grant programs will require recipients to meet specific income guidelines to qualify. In addition to income, some of the government grants available will require recipients to meet more specific qualifications, such as having a senior citizen living within a household.

Most, although not all, housing grants are offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grants awarded by these departments are commonly awarded to low-income families and individuals in order to aid with the costs of insurance, taxes and closing costs with the purchase of a home.

Financial Aid for Student Housing Assistance

Federal aid is available to low-income and moderately incomed students who are seeking a higher education. Grant amounts are based upon several factors, including a student’s financial need, citizenship status and ability to maintain a minimum amount of course hours and passing grades while receiving benefits. These government grants primarily assist students with the cost of schooling. However, they can also be used to cover student housing while attending school.

Most financial aid grants are provided by the United States Department of Education, including the Pell Grant and the FSEOG grant. In addition to these grants, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant can be obtained by students who are striving to become teachers. In addition to federal grants, students may be able to earn grants from their colleges, universities and local communities based upon their income and GPA.

Several non-profit organizations provide grants towards the cost of housing and furthering education. These grant programs may include additional eligibility requirements and often require applicants to submit a personal statement or essay for consideration.

Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

Housing grants are provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans and service members who have a service-related disability. These grants can be used towards the purchase or modification of a home in order to accommodate a disability. By providing financial assistance, the VA aids disabled veterans in retaining their independence.

In addition to the aforementioned government grants, applicants may qualify for USDA Section 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation grants if their household includes at least one senior citizen, is considered to be low income and the home is located within a rural area as determined by the USDA. Recipients of Section 504 grants can receive up to $7,500 in financial assistance towards expenses related to the improvement or repair of qualifying homes.

If approved, grants must be used towards repairs or improvements that eliminate a health hazard, eliminate a safety hazard or make a home more accessible to disabled household members. Eligibility requirements for this type of government grant include but are not limited to income, citizenship status and the type of repair or improvement that must be made to the home.

The Individuals and Households Program (IHP)

If your home was damaged or destroyed during a presidential-declared natural disaster, you might qualify for aid from the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). This program provides government grants towards the cost of repairing or replacing homes destroyed or damaged within a natural disaster zone. IHP grants are provided to eligible recipients through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In order to qualify for IHP disaster assistance, your home must have been damaged or destroyed within an area that was declared a natural disaster zone by the U.S. president. Additionally, you must be able to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or you have a lawful non-citizen status.
  • You have experienced losses to your primary residence related to the natural disaster.
  • You are unable to live or access your home due to damages caused by the natural disaster.
  • You do not have adequate homeowner’s insurance.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

You may benefit from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program if you are part of a low-income household and you cannot afford your utility bills. LIHEAP provides government grants towards the cost of heating or cooling bills, especially in cases of emergency where a utility is about to be shut off due to nonpayment. Additionally, the program provides financial assistance towards the cost of minor energy-related repairs and improvements within a home in order to reduce utility bills in the future and thus reduce a family’s dependence on LIHEAP.

Eligibility requirements for the LIHEAP program vary between states. However, you can generally receive assistance if you are low-income while funds are available. Typically, the program can only provide benefits to a household once per year. Due to limited funds, it is estimated that only 20 percent of eligible households receive help from LIHEAP. Therefore, it is crucial to apply for LIHEAP grants as soon as possible if you are in need of assistance.