Shelterforce is a nonprofit media organization dedicated to writing about affordable housing, housing justice, and community development. We are not a housing provider, social services organization, or legal provider, so we can’t help you directly.
However, the resources below should give you a sense of where to start looking and who to ask.
(Please note: Many housing resources are local, and we can’t list the specifics for every part of the country. However, these links should help you find your way to local assistance.)
Jump to the resources you need:
- If you’re homeless or facing homelessness.
- If you’re facing eviction or have other landlord problems.
- If you’re looking for decent rental housing you can afford.
- If you are a homeowner in need of help with your mortgage, taxes, or repairs.
If you want to learn more about why things are the way they are and what people are doing about it, you can follow up with the “learn more” links.
If you’re homeless or facing homelessness:
- Call 211, a referral hotline that covers almost 95 percent of the population of the United States. They can help you get connected with resources specific to your area.
- Visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness page, How to Get Help If You Are Experiencing Homelessness. This page explains the typical process, and has resources regarding housing and food, as well as resources for specific situations (like veterans or those experiencing domestic violence).
- Visit the National Coalition for the Homeless resource page. Along with service provider organization databases, they offer some practical suggestions on steps to take based on how close you are to homelessness.
- Use the Community Solutions Homeless Resource Locator to find the homeless service provider closest to you.
- If you’re a teenager and are thinking about running away from home, or if you are already homeless, call the National Runaway Switchboard, a toll-free, confidential hotline: 1-800-621-4000.
- Find and connect with other people facing homelessness to advocate for change through the National Union of the Homeless, a street newspaper, or a tenant union (see next section). If you live in New York City, connect with Picture the Homeless.
- The Hunger Games of Homeless Services
- Housing First
- Backsliding Support and Backfiring Messaging: The Homelessness Conversation Needs a Reframe
- Other Shelterforce homelessness articles
If you’re facing eviction or have other landlord problems:
- Visit Step-by-Step Guide for People at Risk of Eviction (Interagency Council on the Homeless) and What to Do If You’re Facing Eviction (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). These are both pandemic-focused resources that provide slightly different resources.
- Visit National Fair Housing Alliance’s Frontdoor site to get connected to rental assistance you might qualify for.
- Reach out to your local legal aid office to see if you qualify for help.
- Use this map to see if there is a right to counsel provision where you live (select the button for Right to Counsel Status, and then your location and “housing–evictions” from the drop-down menu). If there is, you might qualify for a lawyer in housing court even if you don’t qualify for legal aid.
- While you’re getting connected to help, keep documentation of everything—all payments, correspondence, and interactions with your landlord.
- If there is one, connect with a tenant union or tenant organizing group representing tenants in your building or your area. Try looking at these lists: Right to the City members, People’s Action members, Autonomous Tenant Union members, or search “[your state] tenant rights organization” or “[your city] tenant rights organization.”
- If you live in housing that is privately owned but subsidized by HUD, connect with the National Alliance of HUD Tenants.
- If you know others who face similar problems, especially from a similar landlord, you might want to consider forming a tenants union. Reach out to one of the citywide, statewide, or national networks linked above for support.
If you’re looking for decent rental housing you can afford:
- Unfortunately, only a few places—like Massachusetts and Minnesota—have an easy way to search various kinds of affordable housing across a wide area, but if you are in those states, start there!
- If you are not in those states try: your local housing authority, housing counseling organizations, tenant organizations, local government housing offices (for example New York and Los Angeles), or community action agencies, all of which may maintain lists of options. Also try calling 211 for referrals.
- In some places landlords are not allowed to discriminate against you for having a voucher or any other kind of housing assistance, though many will try anyway. Look up where you live on this list to see if you are covered by source-of-income protections and consider filing a complaint if you’ve been told “no Section 8.”
- The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, and disability. If you suspect you have been discriminated against, reach out to your local Fair Housing Assistance Program or the National Fair Housing Alliance.
- Learn about advocating for more affordable housing with the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Tenant Talk publication and Facebook group.
If you’re a homeowner in need of help with your mortgage, taxes, or repairs: