Low Income Housing Assistance in Illinois

11. Housing assistance for single mothers in Illinois

In pursuit of providing affordable shelters for every financially needy single mother in the State of Illinois, the Department of Human Services is running multiple programs that are aimed at assisting the single moms. Life may seem fruitless for homeless single mothers or if they’re facing imminent homelessness due to some inevitable factors. Nevertheless, homelessness is being dealt with in this state.

If you are a single mother looking for housing assistance in the State of Illinois then you might be helped subject to meeting the requirements that the state has set. Majority of programs except the Rental Assistance Program are established by the federal government and administered by the state. The federal government Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the state enough money to run the programs in its quest to alleviate homelessness.

The housing aid programs are engineered for disabled, blind, very-low income, homeless, and elderly people. In the State of Illinois, these programs are managed by the Department of Human Services and the department, in turn, has contracted the public housing agencies (PHAs) to administer the programs to relevant people. The agencies are spread are spread all over the state in different counties.

The programs provided to low-income single mothers are, inter alia;
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
Section 8 Homeownership
Emergency and Transitional Housing
Rental Assistance
Homeless Prevention
Public Housing
This list is not all-inclusive. For more info on the programs you may visit http://www.dhs.state.il.us.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) is a federally established program which is available in all the states of America. The program is primarily meant to accommodate those who battles to afford housing needs on account of their remarkably low-incomes. For single mothers, the program will help them meet the shelter needs among other needs they bound to provide for their households.

Section 8 HCV gives the qualifying single mother a free role of choosing where she can stay ” whether private or any other housing ” and the program will subsidy the rent. The mother should make sure that she has chosen the unit that is in compliance with the required standards set by the Housing and Urban Development of U.S (http://www.hud.gov). The department strives for quality and affordable housing to low-income people in all the states.

To be able to choose the housing unit, the mother has to be approved first by the public housing agency she applied for the HVC program. The PHAs have long-lists of people who need housing. To help solve the problem, the vouchers are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. The list can be closed at anytime at the discretion of the agency concerned if it feels that there are many people to be helped when vouchers become available. Should the waiting list be closed in any PHA county, the single mother who is in dire need of accommodation could try applying with other PHAs.

The single moms who are currently homeless, disabled, senior citizens or blind need not be stressed by the long waiting list because they always receive preference. Irrespective of the time they’ve applied for assistance through HCV program, the moms will be moved to the top of the waiting list.

After the voucher has been issued, the single mom has an obligation to use it within 60 days in finding the housing to rent. Failure to accomplish that may jeopardize the voucher unless if valid reasons are furnished. The mother can also ask for extension by writing to the relevant housing agency she took the voucher.

If the single mom decides to relocate to another county with the voucher she can do that by asking procedure to be followed. The current PHA and the PHA in the county of preference of next move should be consulted with regard to that decision of relocation.

Section 8 Homeownership

HCV can be used to purchase a home by the recipient of HCV rental assistance. Enquire with the current PHA that has offered you HCV to find if Homeownership program is being offered too. The PHAs have no obligation of administering this program. The only binding program is the Section 8 rental assistance program.

There are qualifying factors that need attention of the prospect homeowner before applying. A few factors are stipulated hereunder;

No eviction history from the public housing due to unacceptable behavior.
No criminal record
Bad credit history should be cleared
No record of homeownership for the last 3 years before applying.
Resident of Illinois,
Meet income guidelines and many more qualifying rules.

The PHA that is administering the Homeownership program will use the normal voucher program in issuing Housing Assistance Payment to the single mother who is willing to buy a home. Consider the expenses akin to homeownership such as utility bills, mortgage interests and principal, routine maintenance expenses, real estate taxes, homeowner insurance and repairs. These are all liabilities to the homeowner.

Emergency and Transitional Housing Program

There are local governments and non-profit organizations with the aim of helping the families in crisis situations. This program helps to fund these organizations so that they could serve any low-income household in need of emergency help. The household, depending on the emergency situation, could be given emergency shelter, instant shelter services, meals and other services deemed essential to help rescue one from emergency.

There are three types of shelters offered to low-income households in case of emergency. These are overnight shelter, voucher shelter and transition voucher. Overnight shelter is only limited to the period less than 12 hours, the transition shelter is limited to the period up to 24 months. The voucher shelter is only given when other shelters are fully occupied. Therefore, the vouchers will be managed by hostels and the likes. Consult the local housing agencies to find out about this program.

Homeless Prevention Program

The program is for the single mother’s family of low-income that is homeless or is facing homelessness. If facing homelessness, the program will help determine the cause of that and therefore bring remedial solutions. Solutions include rental assistance, utility assistance, payment of arrears and many more services deemed as contributory factors of homelessness. Since the inception of the program, about 14000 households were helped as recorded in the year 2007. Note that payment of arrears only dates back to 3 months and rent is only paid for 2 months.

Rental Assistance Program

The program is exclusive to the State of Illinois and it was established in the year 2006. The sole mission of the program was to provide housing that is affordable to residents of Illinois but provided they meet requirements. Local administering agencies are contracted by the Illinois Housing Development Authority to run the program.

Rental Assistance Program is only targeting the very low-income households with income less or equal 30% of the area median income. The household is expected, as in Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, to pay 30% of monthly adjusted income towards rent. However, the recipients of Section 8 vouchers are ineligible for this program. For more information on the program, go to http://www.ihda.org/renter/rentalassistance.htm.

There is more help in housing for single mothers staying or about to stay in the State of Illinois. The state runs the federal programs and the programs of its own in helping those in dire need of housing.

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