16 Ways To Find Affordable Housing In Houston

affordable housing Houston

16 Ways To Find Affordable Housing In Houston


Houston is a great city, but affordable housing can be hard to find especially if you are not used to searching for community resources or Houston housing programs.

At first, it can be overwhelming, but with a basic understanding of your housing options and some work, you can develop a solid plan to find affordable housing in Houston that you can afford.

As someone who has worked in case management for years, I can tell you that there are lots of options for low income housing. You just need to know where to search.

In this article, I will discuss 16 affordable housing opportunities in Houston. Finding a decent place to stay that you can afford is a goal of many, so I hope you can benefit from the information in this article.

What Is Considered Affordable Housing In Houston?

Paying no more than 30% of your household income on rent or mortgage is considered affordable housing. This is according to the Houston Housing Authority.

You want to stay below 30% because if you spend more, it can put a real strain on your budget. When you pay more than 30% of your household income, you are considered “cost-burdened”.

Households that are cost-burdened are frequently compelled to make difficult decisions such as not paying for medicines, food, or other essential items.

16 Affordable Housing Options In Houston

In this section, you’ll learn about 16 affordable housing programs in Houston that you may apply to for affordable rent. Those Houston affordable housing options are:

  • The Houston Public Housing Program
  • Section 8 Housing
  • New Hope Housing
  • Housing For Individuals With A Diagnosis Of HIV or AIDS
  • Low-Income Tax Credit Apartments In Houston
  • 2nd Chance Apartment Locators In Houston If You Have A Poor Rental History
  • Felony Friendly Apartments And Other Housing Options
  • Houston Rooming Houses
  • Homeless Shelters In Houston
  • Transitional Housing Program
  • Substance Abuse Housing For Those With Alcohol or Drug Addiction
  • Community Land Trust Programs
  • Affordable Housing Online
  • Houston Personal Care Homes
  • Low-Cost Veteran Housing
  • Special Needs Housing In Houston

Houston Public Housing Program

The first option for affordable housing in Houston is to apply for the public housing program.

Public housing is a type of housing option that is managed by your local housing authority. In this case, the Houston Housing Authority manages our city’s public housing program.

Public housing typically comes in the form of apartments. Cuney Homes, Kelly Court, and Ewing Apartments near Herman Park are all examples of public housing. Individuals who live in Houston public housing programs consist of:

  • Low-income families
  • Seniors on a fixed income
  • Veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities

Those who receive public housing live in federally subsidized apartments, where they typically pay 30% of the rent each month.

To apply for a public housing program, you will need to contact the housing authority in your city. To learn more about the local public housing program and if you may qualify, you can read our guide titled How To Apply For The Houston Public Housing Program.

You can also reach out to the Houston Housing Authority for more information about other subsidized housing programs by visiting their website or calling them at 713.260.0500.

Section 8

Section 8 is another program that offers affordable housing in Houston. While most people know this program by Section 8, the actual name is Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Unlike the public housing program, tenants are not confined to apartments that are managed by the local housing authority. If you receive a Section 8 voucher, this means that the federal government is paying up to 70% of your monthly rent. You are responsible for the other 30%.

When you receive your Section 8 voucher, it’s your responsibility to locate a landlord that is willing to accept your voucher. This could be a landlord of an apartment complex, condo, or single-family home. The way that most Section 8 recipients find landlords who accept Section 8 is through a website called Go Section 8.

To apply for Section 8, you will need to contact the Houston Housing Authority. Your local housing authority manages both the public housing and Section 8 programs.

Editor’s Note: Section 8 housing is very popular and because of this there are often waitlists. This is the case in Houston as well. To date, the waitlist is not open for the Houston Section 8 program. If you are willing to move to another city, you can apply for Section 8 (or public housing) in a city outside of your current location. To learn more about this process, check out an article we wrote titled Why You Should Apply For Housing Outside of Houston. In it, you will find other housing authorities that you can apply for either Section 8 or public housing programs.

To learn more about the Section 8 program, refer to our guide titled How To Apply For Section 8 or call the Houston Housing Authority at 713.260.0500.

New Hope Housing

New Hope is a non-profit that offers affordable housing in Houston to single adults seeking SRO apartments. These are essentially efficient apartments that come with a kitchenette.

This Houston affordable housing program has apartment complexes all over the city of Houston. To apply for housing, you will need to contact the New Hope Housing complex that you are interested in. Each complex has a different waitlist that may be longer or shorter than the next.

Most New Hope sites only offer to house to single adults. There is only one property that accepts low income families, and that New Hope property is located in SW Houston.

For more details about the affordable housing options that New Hope Housing offers, you can read our guide titled How To Apply For New Hope Housing or contact them directly.

HOPWA: Houston Housing For Individuals With HIV and AIDS

A HOPWA program offers housing to people with HIV/AIDS. HOPWA stands for Housing Opportunities For Persons With AIDS.

There are multiple Houston non-profits that receive federal funding to help individuals with HIV/AIDs find affordable housing in Houston and rental assistance programs. These funds come in the form of HOPWA grants.

To apply for HIV/AIDs housing in Houston, you will need to contact an agency that participates in the program. Our guide titled 14 HOPWA Houston Programs: Housing For Individuals With HIV/AIDS will direct you to these non-profits in Houston.

Low-Income Tax Credit Apartments In Houston

A Low-Income Tax Credit Apartment (LIHTC) is an affordable housing option in Houston that low-income families can consider if they need help paying rent each month.

The way LIHTCs work is the landlord of the apartment receives a tax credit in exchange for discounting the monthly rent of low-income residents. The goal of this program is to provide low-income families and individuals with quality, safe, affordable homes in Houston.

Depending on how low your income is will determine the % of the rent that you must pay each month. This could be anywhere from 40 to 60% of your regular rent.

To sign up for a Low Income Tax Credit Apartment, you have to find one. We offer a map full of Houston LIHTCs in our guide titled How To Apply For Low-Income Tax Credit Apartments In Houston.

Although you cannot apply for LIHTCs through your local housing authority, you can call them to see if they have an updated list of tax credit apartments near you.

2nd Chance Apartment Locators In Houston

If you have a poor rental history this can make it difficult to find an apartment. Even if you have good rental history, some landlords will not rent to anyone with an eviction, broken lease, criminal record, or bad credit.

To combat this problem, you will need to enlist the help of a 2nd chance apartment locator. These companies specialize in helping renters with evictions or broken leases find landlords who offer affordable housing in Houston and are willing to work with you.

If you have a misdemeanor or felony, you should definitely consider contacting a Houston second chance apartment locator, because they can quickly assess your situation and find you an apartment that is willing to overlook your criminal history.

There are 3 main apartment locators who specialize in helping renters with a poor rental history find apartments. You can find them by referring to our guide title 3 Second Chance Apartment Locators In Houston To Help You Find A Place To Stay.

11 Felony Friendly Housing Options In Houston For Those With A Criminal Record

Having a criminal record can make it extremely difficult to find affordable housing in Houston. For this reason, we put together a guide that talks about 11 ways that you can find felony-friendly housing options in Houston.

In the guide titled 11 Felony Friendly Housing Options In Houston, you will find suggestions like:

  • Using 2nd Chance Apartment Locators
  • Transitional Housing
  • Contacting Houston ReEntry Programs to learn about housing options
  • How to use Craigslist to find felony friendly apartments in Houston
  • Outright purchasing a home if you have the income

When you have a felony, you have to get creative when searching for low-cost housing in Houston. If you have had trouble finding a place to stay due to your criminal record be sure to check out our guide on finding affordable felony-friendly apartments and housing in Houston.

Houston Rooming Houses

If you are a single adult, a rooming house can also offer you affordable housing in Houston. Also known as boarding houses, these places provide low-income renters with a single room that they can live in on a weekly or even long-term basis.

The weekly cost of Houston boarding houses fluctuates, but currently many charge about $100 per week. If you have bad credit, no rental history, a criminal record, or not quite enough for an apartment deposit, rooming houses are worth considering.

Most of the rooming houses in Houston that I am familiar with are in the East End neighborhood, 5th Ward, or Near Northside (off North Main).

To learn more about the cost and availability for local properties like this see our guide titled Houston Rooming Houses: An Alternative To Shelters For Anyone With A Monthly Income.

Homeless Shelters In Houston

Most people would rather avoid homeless shelters, however, let me provide one compelling reason why someone with $0 income should consider checking into one.

Individuals in homeless shelters are the first to get connected to long-term housing programs.

Houston homeless shelters typically partner with local housing advocates to connect their residents to apartments, SROs, and other places for them to live. In order to be connected to a housing program, you will need to be referred by a housing coordinator. You can find these coordinators at homeless shelters in Houston.

In our guide titled Ultimate Guide To Homeless Shelters in Houston, we provide you with a comprehensive list of local shelters and resources that help homeless individuals.

This isn’t for everyone, but if you have no income and are unable to create one, consider contacting a Houston homeless shelter so that you can get a place to stay and assistance with your next move.

Transitional Housing Programs In Houston

A transitional housing program is a place for those who don’t have a home to live in but are transitioning from something else. In most cases, this ‘something else’ is either homelessness or incarceration.

These affordable housing options are places that provide structure and sober living to help you get back on your feet.

In order to access transitional housing programs, you will need to go through an intake process where they assess your situation and needs before placing you into one of their available units.

While we do not have a full list of Houston transitional programs, you can refer to the options below to learn about any availability.

Substance Abuse Housing In Houston

Individuals who are recovering from alcohol or drug addiction require a secure, sober environment in which to heal and move on with their life. In this section, you learn about a few options that you can choose from if you need this type of living environment.

These housing options typically provide individuals recovering from substance abuse with a home-like environment, a structured schedule, and supportive services.

Two places that you can contact to learn more about sober living in Houston are:

  • The Council on Alcohol and Drugs – They are the authority on substance abuse help in Houston and can connect you to outpatient or inpatient alcohol and drug abuse recovery programs. You can learn more by visiting the Council’s website.
  • The ReCenter – This midtown housing program offers a safe environment for you to sober up, reevaluate your life, and start to take steps in the right direction. The ReCenter actually has a low-cost housing program for individuals with substance abuse problems, who also need affordable housing in Houston. Check out ReCenter’s website, if you are interested in this option.

Community Land Trusts In Houston

A Community Land Trust is an affordable housing model that has been used in Europe and Canada for years. Individuals who purchase a home through a land trust program can greatly reduce their housing costs. 

When a CLT is created, the land beneath a home is put into trust, which makes that property more accessible to low-income families in Houston. Instead of paying for the home and the land, the family only pays for the home. This drastically reduces the home’s price.

The land underneath the home is typically owned by a city housing authority or non-profit. These are the organizations that you would have to contact regarding available community land trusts in Houston.

The main two organizations that manage community land trusts are:

  • Houston Land Bank
  • Houston Land Trust Program

You can learn more about these reduced housing options, by reading our guide called How Houston Community Land Trusts Work: Affordable Housing Options In Houston

If you can’t afford a home at the current market value, check into some of the Houston community land trusts to see if they’re right for you.

Affordable Housing Online

Affordable Housing Online is probably the best resource on the internet when it comes to open housing waiting lists.

You can visit their website and sign up for email alerts to receive weekly emails with open Section 8 and Public Housing waitlists around the country.

If you cannot find affordable housing in Houston, your next move should be to search for a place to stay outside of Houston. You may be unaware of this, but you can apply for housing in any city, county, or state in the USA. The individuals in those counties will be a greater priority for that city’s housing program, but knowing this greatly expands your options.

To learn more about open housing waitlists around the country visit the Affordable Housing Online website and sign up for their email.

Personal Care Homes In Houston

A personal care home is a type of affordable senior/disabled housing in Houston that allows the resident to live on their own, but with additional services and care.

Services offered at personal care homes include:

  • Help with transportation
  • Personal care services like grooming and dressing
  • Cognitive support programs, including memory disorder management or activities of daily living training (ADLs)
  • Assistance scheduling medical appointments

Not every personal care home in Houston will offer these services, but these are examples.

You can learn more about personal care homes in Houston by seeing this guide we created listing local options. You can also visit a website like A Place For Mom because this website specializes in connecting you to a personal care home that will fit your budget.

https://www.aplaceformom.com/

Veteran Housing Options In Houston

Veterans in Houston who need housing can get it through HUD’s veteran’s housing programs, as well as other non-profits. Here are just a few examples of affordable housing options for veterans in Houston.

  • US. Vets – Offers 3 apartment complexes that specifically cater to veterans in Houston. These sites offer supportive services like housing and employment assistance, mental health resources, and specialized help for U.S. veterans. You can learn more by visiting the U.S. Vets website or calling them at 832.203.1626
  • Baker Ripley – This non-profit offers a number of services for Houston veterans and their families. Housing, rent/utility assistance, and child care assistance are just a few of those services. You can learn more by visiting the Baker Ripley website or calling the Supportive Services for Veteran Families at 832.799.2714

Affordable Housing In Houston For Special Needs Families

Housing Corp is a local organization that has 6 different apartment complexes for Houston special needs families.

These Houston apartments were specifically designed for individuals with physical disabilities who need wheelchair access and other home modifications.


The Housing Corporation apartment complexes they have to choose from include:

  • Corder Place
  • San Jacinto Apartments
  • Pecan Village
  • Acres Home Garden
  • Pear Grove
  • Villas at Bayou Park

You can learn more about availability by visiting the Housing Corp’s website or calling them at 713.526.9470.

Conclusion

Locating affordable housing in Houston can be difficult for you if you don’t understand the options available to you.

In this guide, we provided you with 16 different ways to find low-cost housing. Whether you are searching for a housing list, rooming house, or have a poor rental history that is making it difficult to rent, there are options for you.

Use the listing above to learn about the affordable housing options available and call the one that seems best suited for your situation.

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