Low Income Housing Assistance in Massachusetts

Housing assistance remains at the forefront of Massachusetts’s objectives in offering secure homes to low-income households. The state offers comprehensive housing programs to help relieve the single mothers from a heavy burden of rental payments. The primary aim of the program is to give rental subsidy to those seemingly struggling with rental housing and which may eventually lead to homelessness.

The website http://www.massresources.org/housing.html/ helps unveil a wide range of housing programs that the State of Massachusetts offers to its residents. The programs are indeed helpful to single moms who tend to have a low-income every month and that income puts them in a tough position of affording a decent and secure housing for their children. The programs offered in this regard include but not limited to Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Privately Owned Affordable Housing, Public Housing, Foreclosure Prevention and Homeownership program.

Public Housing for single moms in Massachusetts

Public housing entails awarding State’s owned apartments to single mothers who earn less that may not afford a decent house when considering other expenses. Criteria involve single mothers with low income, with disabilities, with visual impairments and elderly single mothers. The program is offered by local housing agencies in different counties.

The local housing agencies are many in the State of Massachusetts. The State’s Governor Patrick has merged 240 local housing agencies into six regional housing agencies for more managerial responsibilities. He did this merge on the 10th of January 2013. Therefore, for single moms to apply for public housing program they have to do that with relevant regional housing agencies. Eligibility rules and regulations may differ among the agencies.

To be deemed eligible in the housing program, a single mom should not have a record of engagement in criminal activities, bad credit, and unpaid debts to any of the local housing agencies and should, above all, referenced as a good tenant by the previous landlord. Income guidelines are used as per the agency. In general, there are no assets limits for admission. The table below shows the annual income limits in three counties which appear to differ. They are less or equal 80% of the area median income.

Members of family
Boston county
Worcester county
Springfield county
1
$47150
$45100
$45100
2
$53900
$51550
$51550
3
$60650
$58000
$58000
4
$67350
$64400
$64400
5
$72750
$69600
$69600
6
$78150
$74750
$74750
7
$83550
$79900
$79900
8
$89950
$85050
$85050
Fig.1. Annual income limits for public housing program
Source:http://www.massresources.org/public-housing-financial-eligibility.html#incomelimits.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for single moms in Massachusetts

The state offers a tenant-based mobile voucher to single moms who seek rental assistance. The voucher can be used anywhere in the private market of housing apartments. It is not fixed to any construction as project-based vouchers do. The moms are eligible for the voucher if their incomes are below 50% of the area median income. However, preference goes to moms who have their incomes less than 30% of the area median income which is regarded as very low-income. The law recommends 75% of the vouchers to cater for very low-income families and individuals.

As does the public housing program, this program is run by public housing agencies. Their income requirements vary from one agency to the other and thus in counties. The table hereunder shows the income limits for the Boston County for both 50% and 30% median incomes.

Members of household
30% median income
50% median income
1
$19800
$33050
2
$22650
$37800
3
$25500
$42500
4
$28300
$47200
5
$30600
$51000
6
$32850
$54800
7
$35100
$58550
8
$37400
$62350
Fig.2. Income limits for Section vouchers in the county Boston.
Source: http://www.massresources.org/section8-financial-eligibility.html.

When determining income limits, the following area are paid attention;
,Self-employment income
,Monthly salary
,Rental property income
,Death benefits if the single mom’s husband has passed away
,Social security income
,Pension funds
,Unemployment compensation

The single mom has to look for the rental housing by herself so that the program can give her a rental subsidy. Her contribution amounts to 30% of her adjusted monthly income while the program pays for the balance. The housing has to be approved prior to residing in it. The relevant regional housing agency applied has to review the housing unit in compliance with the regulations of the Housing and Urban Development Department of U.S.

Privately Owned Affordable Housing

The state government offers tax credits and grants to private housing developers to develop properties that will in-turn be occupied by low-income families. These apartments are for the single mothers living with disabilities, visual impairments, the elderly and those who have suffered from domestic violence. These moms have to be regarded as families with limited monthly incomes. Some critical rules are considered like criminal and credit record.

The mother is expected to contribute 30% of her salary as in Section voucher program. This program differs with Section 8 vouchers in a sense that it is fixed (project-based) to a development apartment. When the mom considers relocating, she has to re-apply for the program with the fact in mind that waiting lists are quite long.

To apply for the program consult your local regional housing agency which will give full information about the program and all eligibility criteria needed.

Foreclosure prevention for single mothers

If it single mothers are facing an imminent foreclosure due to non-payment, the program can help temporarily with mortgage payments and other services to help secure the place. Only moms with limited income are helped.

There are other programs like MRVP (Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program) and AHVP (Alternative Housing Voucher Program). They are for low-income single moms. MRVP is fixed while AHVP is mobile. The programs are managed by the Department of Housing and Community Development of the State of Massachusetts. The income limit for the programs should not exceed 200% of federal poverty guidelines.

Therefore, the assistance programs in the State of Massachusetts are massive. Every single mom who has low-income deserves safe, affordable and secure housing. The state does just that through its multiple programs.

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