Does social assistance help you get a car or housing?

When life hits a rough patch, it can be daunting trying to figure out where to get help. There are government run programs and non-profit organizations it can help you pay the bills or ensure you have a car to get to work.

The programs are aimed at low-income people, veterans, the elderly and disabled, and a few other groups.

The Wheels to Work program

Low-income working families who need a car to keep their jobs can take advantage of programs called Wheels to Work or Work-N-Wheels, among others. Across the country, there are several nonprofit organizations that, with donations and funding from the Federal Transit Administration, can provide a low- or zero-interest loan, facilitate matching savings for a down payment on a car, and purchase or even distribute cars directly to families.

In addition, some programs helping to repair the car and, in some cases, even paying fines. These efforts empower these families, increase job security, and promote economic well-being and job security.

However, these programs are not widely available and applicants must meet various criteria and conditions to qualify. Typically, they can only accommodate a small number of applicants, targeting low-income families in rural working communities, but may also include the physically disabled and veterans. You can call 211 to see if there is a program in your community or view a list provided by Work cars for workers.

Get help with housing

Many people were put in financial difficulty during the covid-19 pandemic when it threw a wrench into the global economy. The US government imposed a moratorium on evictions, but that is now over. In the last week of January, more than 9,000 eviction notices were filed according to data from the Eviction Lab in the 6 states and 31 cities they track.

The covid-19 aid bill passed in December 2020 created an emergency housing aid fund which was topped up in March 2021. Tenants and landlords can apply for funds if tenants have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps low-income families, struggling seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans find affordable rental housing. The agency subsidized housing, public housing, and housing choice voucher programs.

Help paying bills

The government also offers assistance to pay some bills related to housing. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help eligible people pay their heating or cooling bills in addition to making low-cost improvements to the weatherization of the house. For households to stay connected, the landline program operated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps low-income Americans get discounted landline and cell phone service, with some even eligible for a free phone.