Low-income assistance programs nobody knows about - Affordable Housing Online

Low-income assistance programs nobody knows about

Programs help with internet, energy and utility bills, and children’s books.

By on December 7th, 2021

Tagged As: Housing Expert Tips

Woman reads book with young child.
Photo © Jason Lander on flickr.com/photos/eyeliam/

HUD has many programs to help low-income families find housing, but the department and other government agencies have programs designed to address other needs of low-income Americans too.

Here are four fairly unknown assistance programs that could help your family:

ConnectHomeUSA

ConnectHomeUSA is a program to help HUD assisted residents get reliable internet connection.

HUD states the program is designed to: “Provide free or low-cost broadband access, devices, and digital literacy training and extend affordable access to low-income families, ensuring that high-speed internet follows children home from their classrooms back to their homes.”

The nonprofit organization EveryoneOn can direct you to local resources, using your zipcode.

Low Income Energy and Water Assistance Programs

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families with heating and cooling costs. LIHEAP also does weatherization such as insulation, roof patching, even repair of furnaces or air conditioners.

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helps low-income families with water and sewer bills. LIHWAP is administered through the same agencies that run your local LIHEAP program and can be reached using the LIHEAP contact information.

Although LIHEAP and LIHWAP are both funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS), in most areas the programs are run through the same local agencies as HUD programs.

Contact information for both programs in your area can be found here.

You can also call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline at 1 (866) 674-6327.

Book Rich Environment Program

The Book Rich Environment (BRE) program is a partnership between national government agencies, non-profit organizations and corporate publishers that aims to give Public Housing communities books and reading-related resources for children in those communities.

According to HUD, the BRE program goals are to:

1. Distribute free, high quality, diverse books to children living in HUD-assisted housing.

2. Engage children and families in the love of reading by connecting them with the ongoing literacy activities offered by the local public library.

3. Build strategic partnerships on the local level, established between the local public housing authority, the local library, and local literacy partners to develop and deliver ongoing community and educational programming.

These are the 36 housing authorities that are utilizing the BRE program for their Public Housing developments:

  • Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, OH
  • Housing Authority of Billings, MT
  • Boulder Housing Partners, CO
  • Brownsville Housing Authority, TX
  • Cambridge Housing Authority, MA
  • Chandler Housing Authority, AZ
  • Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, OH
  • Contra Costa County Housing Authority, CA
  • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, OH
  • District of Columbia Housing Authority, DC
  • Durham Housing Authority, NC
  • Edinburg Housing Authority, TX
  • Fort Wayne Housing Authority, IN
  • Fresno Housing Authority, CA
  • Gregory Housing Authority, TX
  • Harlingen Housing Authority, TX
  • Houston Housing Authority, TX
  • Kansas City Housing Authority, MO
  • Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, CA
  • Marin County Housing Authority, CA
  • Nampa Housing Authority, ID
  • New Bedford Housing Authority, MA
  • New York City Housing Authority, NY
  • City of Phoenix Housing Department, AZ
  • Housing Authority of the City of Pocatello, ID
  • City of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority, VA
  • San Diego Housing Commission, CA
  • Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin, CA
  • Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, CA
  • San Antonio Housing Authority, TX
  • Sarasota Housing Authority, FL
  • Springfield Housing Authority, MA
  • Housing Authority of Stanislaus County, CA
  • Tacoma Housing Authority, WA
  • Tampa Housing Authority, FL
  • Topeka Housing Authority, KS

Published by

Robin Lovelace

Robin Lovelace, Affordable Housing Online's Housing Policy Specialist, is a retired Housing Choice Voucher Policy Analyst. She worked for 17 years in various roles for housing authorities in the State of Indiana. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Robin also writes fiction and has been published in various literary magazines. Her latest novella, Savonne, Not Vonny, won the 2019 Etchings Press Prize and in October of 2021, her short story Uncle, won the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for fiction.