house-behind-treesHome Ownership Option for People with Disabilities

HUD can help people with disabilities become homeowners.

For many years the American Dream has been to own a home- a personal piece of this great country that we can call our own. Unfortunately for millions of Americans who suffer from disabilities the dream has become a distant glimmer. But the dream can still be a reality with careful planning and some assistance from HUD.

 

The assistance program is a Section 8 Home Ownership Voucher provided through HUD, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and overseen by local Public Housing Agencies (PHA’s). Not all PHA’s participate in the Housing Voucher. A downloadable list of PHA’s who do participate is located on HUD’s website:  http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=publiclist_vhosites.xls. Low and moderate income persons may have a portion of their housing payment paid under Section 8 Housing Assistance.

HUD’s Section 8 rental assistance program is fairly well-known. But the money that is applied to a rent payment could be applied to a home purchase instead for those who qualify under both HUD’s and the local PHA’s rules and qualifications.

Just as for rent, usually there are a limited number of vouchers available and they must be applied for. In some areas the wait time may be months to several years. Wait time may be decreased if the homeowner is willing to move to an area with less competition for the vouchers.

Basic HUD Home Ownership Voucher requirements with some exceptions as noted on HUD’s website ( http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/homeownership) are that the purchase be a first time home purchase or that no one in the family has owned a home for at least three years. Currently a minimum annual income level of at least $14,500 is required unless the family is disabled in which case HUD uses a formula based on the recipient’s monthly benefit. In addition, one or more adults living in the home must have been full-time employed for at least a year, however, this requirement can be waived for disabled or elderly persons. The potential homeowner must also attend and satisfactorily complete home ownership counselling. Finally, the local PHA may set other requirements.

Two points that need to be noted are that the new homeowner will be expected to pay part of the mortgage. Currently the homeowner should expect to pay about 30% of their monthly income towards the house payment. Also, the assistance is limited to ten or fifteen years depending on the term of the mortgage. The good news, however, is that this year limit is waived for elderly and disabled persons.

Being disabled should not prevent a person from taking part in the American Dream and owning their own home. Planning for a home purchase by building credit scores, limiting expenses and applying for a Home Ownership Voucher may be the ticket to owning a piece of America.

 

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