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How to File for Rent assistance

Paying rent can be a challenge if you are a low-income family, disabled, or elderly. Get the rent assistance you need.


  • Step 1: Search for privately owned housing Search for privately owned apartments that offer lower rent for low-income tenants. Visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's website at to search for apartments in your area.
  • Step 2: Apply for public housing Contact your local city or county housing authority about public housing if you are disabled, elderly, a low-income family, or have been displaced by government action or a disaster. Public houses are publicly owned and typically feature affordable rent.
  • Step 3: File for Section 8 File for a Section 8 housing voucher with the Public Housing Administration, or PHA. With a housing voucher, your rent is set at 30 percent of your income, and the voucher covers the rest. You sign a lease with the landlord, and the landlord signs a housing assistance payments contract with the PHA.
  • TIP: Be prepared to pay a security deposit if the landlord requires it.
  • Step 4: Check with the state Check with your state government for rental assistance in your area.
  • Step 5: Ask for help Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, or call HUD at 800-569-4287 if you need advice about getting rental assistance.
  • FACT: President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which included the Fair Housing Act that prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

You Will Need

  • Private housing
  • Public housing
  • Section 8 voucher
  • HUD-approved housing counseling agency
  • Security deposit (optional)

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