Get By With a Little Help From the Web: The Ultimate List of Sites and Programs to Help You With Housing
by Kenneth Medford III
One of the biggest issues when it comes to our relationship with money is a lack of financial knowledge. Many of us grew up completely ignorant as to how money works outside of going to work, getting a paycheck, and paying bills. Luckily, we have the interwebs to help us change that. Where oh where does one begin though? I’m so glad you asked, dear reader. Let me show you a few sites and programs to help you offset the cost of housing that my friends, family, and I use with a pretty solid degree of success.
First things first, you have to decide how much space you need. Are we talking an apartment, a townhome, or a full-on house? Other than the obvious “duh” of needing to know this just for preference sake, there are also a myriad of resources available based on what living arrangements you’re pursuing.
Help with Homeownership
For those chasing the American Dream, homeownership is a huge piece of that apple pie. The biggest issue is that the constantly fluctuating housing market leaves many people incapable of affording a home. We’re here to lighten that financial burden just a bit with a couple sites and programs to help you financially achieve that big backyard dream.
“The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (‘NACA’) is a non-profit, community advocacy and homeownership organization. NACA’s primary goal is to build strong, healthy neighborhoods in urban and rural areas nationwide through affordable homeownership. NACA has made the dream of homeownership a reality for thousands of working people by counseling them honestly and effectively, enabling even those with poor credit to purchase a home or modify their predatory loan with far better terms than those provided even in the prime market.”
My best friend just became a homeowner in the last couple weeks, and the NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) is a major part of how. With a series of workshops and coaching throughout the entire process, the NACA not only gets you on the road to homeownership but also gives you the knowledge to make the best decision for you, your family, and your bank account. Boasting no down payment, no closing costs, no fees, and a below market fixed rate on your mortgage, your dream of owning a home almost feels like it’s too good to be true. It will likely feel like there are a lot of hoops to jump through along the way (I remember a specific issue with getting the place inspected within 7 days), but the NACA is doing great work to make homeownership more reality than dream.
Check out their forum HERE to get a feel for how NACA is more than just a housing program; it’s a movement to restore that slice of the American dream to all.
“New American Funding, one of the top mortgage lenders in the country, is dedicated to helping families and individuals improve their quality of living through homeownership. We’re a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae direct lender, seller, and servicer, and even though we have thousands of employees, we treat everyone like they’re family.
At New American Funding, our mission is to provide homeowners and future homeowners a variety of home financing options at competitive rates; fulfilling their needs in a manner that enhances their standard of living in realizing the American Dream.”
New American Funding feels like a traditional lender except for the “we treat everyone like they’re family” part. Unlike most places, individual underwriting can be done to assess your ability to get a loan. This gives those with less than stellar credit the chance to turn things around instead of being blindly turned down.
If you’re like me and ownership isn’t your lane, renting an apartment or townhome might be the move for you. If you’re having difficulties finding affordable housing, the following resources might help.
State by state you can see what’s available and what you can afford. If you’re anything like me and hate to wander into the unknown, this is an amazing tool to let you know exactly what you’re walking into. It is a government program, so that will come with your typical bureaucracy, but you can’t beat such a comprehensive search tool and network.
Local Housing and Rental Resource Sites
This one is a bit of a catch all and requires a bit of digging for your local market. If you don’t find something like the linked site above, your local housing authority will likely play the same or similar role. For my state (Virginia) I was able to find Virginia Housing:
“When homes are affordable and accessible to jobs, good schools and transportation, everyone benefits. Individual lives are improved and communities as a whole grow stronger. Virginia Housing was created in 1972 by the General Assembly to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing….
We provide mortgages for first-time homebuyers, as well as financing for apartment communities and neighborhood revitalization efforts. [Virginia Housing] offers free homebuyer classes, support housing counseling, and help people with disabilities and the elderly make their homes more livable. We also administer the federal Housing Choice Voucher and Housing Credit programs in Virginia. Virginia Housing is self-supporting and receives no state taxpayer dollars to fund our programs. Instead, we raise money in the capital markets, and we contribute a significant portion of our net revenues each year to help meet Virginia’s most difficult housing needs.”
After spending a little bit of time on the Virginia Housing website, I was able to find a variety of resources for both homeowners and renters, the most useful being the wealth of educational tools. One way we fail is moving forward without truly understanding the things we’re getting ourselves into. Sites like this give you as full a picture as possible without actually going through the process directly.
Here is a list of states with local resources for renters or direct links to their HUD website (we mentioned how awesome they were).
These may include grants for Covid-19 payment assistance programs and grants for your state.
With the world attempting to return to whatever “normal” is going to become, many of us are adjusting. These tools can help you find the best place to start your post pandemic comeback wherever that story may begin.
Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.
Check out my other work here or reach out to me on LinkedIn.