Every week, the team at Low Income Relief digs deep into headlines from around the country to find all the news that low income Americans need to know so that we can publish it for you in one convenient place. In this week’s roundup, we’ve got information about proposed low income housing changes, improved contraception access, new guaranteed income programs and so much more.
Nationwide Low Income News
The Guardian recently reported that the cumulative effects of poverty are now the fourth leading cause of death in America. This is heartbreaking, so we’ve spent a lot of time trying to find all of the assistance programs that can help you.
Brace for Rising Rents
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released their 2023 SCE Housing Survey. Although they expect home prices to drop, they have also found that both renters and landlords are expecting rent prices to rise rapidly throughout the year.
This is obviously terrible news, since rent is already out of reach for so many low income households already. If you need help with rent or security deposits, we’re doing everything we can to try to find resources for you. Be sure to stay subscribed to our website and YouTube channel for the latest housing help resources!
Low Income Housing Changes Proposed
As the housing crisis worsens, California Representative Maxine Waters has proposed major changes to the way low income housing works nationwide. She proposed three bills this week that would make drastic changes to low income housing programs.
These bills would accomplish the following:
- $100 billion in direct assistance for first-time homebuyers
- $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments
- Expansion of Section 8 into a federal entitlement that is available to everyone who qualifies
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has been plagued with problems. There aren’t enough vouchers available for everyone who qualifies, resulting in years-long waitlists that make it impossible for people to obtain safe and stable housing. When vouchers are awarded, they are so limited that it makes it difficult to find housing that will be approved by the program.
Under the new proposal, any family earning 30% or less of their Area Median Income would qualify.
Help for Massive Medical Debt
A new survey by Lending Tree shows that one in four Americans are struggling with medical debt and the average debt was more than $7,700 on average. That’s a crushing weight of debt, especially if you’re struggling with a low income.
If you’re struggling with this kind of debt, our sponsors at CareConnect USA can help. Their expert debt counselors can help you reduce your payments, interest and even the total amount that you owe. They can also get those obnoxious debt collection calls to stop right away. You can reach them at 1-866-530-9949.
Executive Order on Contraception Access
This week, President Biden issued an Executive Order that is intended to help low income people access contraception options. The order directs specific government agencies to take steps to expand and improve access to contraceptives through a variety of different programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Programs, college students and more.
The order also requires that all Affordable Care Act insurance plans provide access to contraceptives without any cost sharing. This is intended to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for these treatments.
Local Low Income News
The best financial assistance programs we’ve found for low income Americans are always local. We have updates for 23 states. Please scroll through the subheadings below to find your state.
In Montgomery, the Equal Justice Initiative has opened a new health clinic that specifically serves people who have been released from jail or prison! This new center provides free screenings for chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, hepatitis, HIV, kidney disease and more. On-site doctors can also provide prescriptions and treatment.
EJI Health also has a mobile clinic that can travel around the state to serve low income patients who do not have access to other health care options.
Did you know that a single person living in San Francisco can earn $104,400 and still be considered low income?! A single person who lives in that area and earns less than $65,250 is considered “very low income,” and anyone under $39,150 is “extremely low.”
The state’s new 2023 State Income Limits have just been released and it’s quite surprising. These figures are based on the Area Median Income and account for the typical household income and expenses like housing.
Meanwhile, in Hayward, low income residents who are facing eviction may be able to get help from advocates at Centro Legal de La Raza. If you’ve received an eviction summons, please call them at (510) 437-1554 or email them at [email protected].
In Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass is trying to permanently reduce the paperwork burden on homeless shelters and affordable housing providers. On her first day as Mayor, she issued an Executive Directive that made temporary cuts to paperwork. As a result, shelters and housing have been approved in 37 days instead of six months. Now, the city wants to make these changes permanent.
In San Diego, Villa Musica provides free classical music lessons to low income students in the San Diego area. For example, a group of six and seven year old students has been learning how to play the violin for free at the Logan Heights library. Both the classes and the violins are given to students free of charge.
The Charlotte County Community Action Agency Advisory Board is looking for a low income person to serve on their board. The person they choose will need to attend at least four meetings per year and serve on at least one committee. In this role, you’ll have an impact on how your community uses federal grant money to help low income people in your area.
In order to be eligible, you must live in one of the following zip codes:
If you’re interested, you’ll need to attend the July 27 board meeting. The meeting will be held at 1pm that day at the Punta Gorda Housing Authority building.
In the LaGrange area, a local nonprofit called Mission Serve is helping renovate homes in low income areas. They are looking for 10 homes that need to be renovated. They can help with painting, roofing, small repairs, and other things. The repairs are completed by a team of volunteers and there are no labor costs, although there may be a cost for materials.
More than $100,000 has been donated to help low income children in the Glenview area attend summer camps at park facilities. It is not immediately clear how those funds will be distributed. If you have a child that would like to participate, please contact Glenview School District 34 or the Glenveiw Park Foundation for details.
An affordable housing project is also being constructed in Springfield. Habitat for Humanity of Central Lane is building six tandem homes in a neighborhood called Fischer Village. These 12 affordable homes will be available to residents who earn between 40-80% of the Area Median Income and meet other requirements. The homes will be purchased through loans from Habitat for Humanity, which means the payments will be limited to 30% of your gross income and the interest will be extremely low. If you are interested, applications will open on July 17.
A new low income apartment complex opened this week in Seymour. The apartments have between one and three bedrooms, and rent for between $340-$972 per month.
The complex, called Seymour Lofts, still had 20% of apartments available at last reporting. If you are interested, you will need to contact them right away to apply.
If you live in Sioux City, you need to get a Sioux City library card right away. The library is running an incredible Internet for All campaign that will allow you to borrow a router or internet hotspot for up to one year. You can also borrow a Chromebook laptop or tablet for up to three months. All of those devices offer unlimited data for free. You just need to have an adult library card.
In Michigan, a new guaranteed income pilot aims to help low income residents who want to pursue entrepreneurship. This program will provide 100 people with around $528 per month for two years, in the hope that it will help them achieve their dreams.
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be an Ann Arbor resident.
- You must be a low to moderate income household.
- You must be engaged in some form of entrepreneurship (such as gig work, side jobs, or home-based businesses)
According to MLive, priority will be given to households who receive other forms of public assistance, like SNAP or Medicaid. The team behind this has applied for a waiver to ensure that the monthly checks don’t count as income to make sure that this program doesn’t interfere with other benefits.
The program is coordinated between the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. The program will be administered by Poverty Solutions. If you are interested in applying for this, you can use this online form to register for updates from Poverty Solutions.
The STEM CONNECT program offered by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln helps low income students receive scholarships and extra support when they pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math.
In order to be eligible, residents must meet the following requirements:
- You must have a financial need.
- You must commit to enrolling in a STEM degree.
- You must meet residency requirements.
Those who are eligible can receive up to $8,000 per year in scholarships.
Reno is celebrating the groundbreaking of a new intergenerational low income housing complex. Called The Gen Den, this 10 unit complex will be located near 4th Street and Keystone Avenue.
You may be able to get help from the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program! There have recently been Town Hall events in the state focused on encouraging participation in this program, which can help pay the water and wastewater bills for low income families.
If you would like to get help from LIHWAP, please call (800) 510-3102 or apply online.
A community solar program that is supposed to help low income New Mexico residents experienced an unexpected setback. Because the state took over a year to translate a two-page document from English to Spanish, the program experienced a months-long setback in signing up low income communities.
This program will help residents save around 30% on their utility bills over a five year period.
The New York City Council recently approved a bill to create a guaranteed income pilot program! In order to be eligible, applicants would need to be New York City residents with an income that is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. Runaways and homeless youth would also be eligible.
Once the bill is signed by the Mayor, the city will begin developing the program.
In McDowell County, you won’t want to miss the Summer Kickoff Community Resource Fair at the Marion Tailgate Market. This event is happening on June 27 between 3pm and 6pm. If you go, you’ll find healthy food resources, health and wellness options, and referrals to other community programs that can help you. Free cleaning supplies, blood pressure checks and other offers will be available.
The event also includes a free hot dog dinner. The first 100 people who show up will also receive a Marion Tailgate Market Gift Certificate.
If you’re a low income parent in Asheville, you may be able to use the Scholarships for Opportunities & Access to Recreation (SOAR) program to get scholarships for summer camps and after school programs for your kids. This program helps teens and younger children participate in events during the summer and other holiday breaks.
You may be eligible for SOAR if your family meets the following criteria:
- You are a resident of Asheville, North Carolina.
- You have at least one youth or teen in your home.
- Your family receives benefits from either SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, SSDI, Housing Choice Vouchers (like Section 8) or other public assistance.
It’s important to apply right away, because it can take up to three weeks for your application to be processed. You can apply online.
The second annual LiveGRAND Health & Wellness Expo occurred on June 21. This event offered free diabetes screenings, blood pressure checks, STD testing, immunizations and more. The goal is to offer the low income community extra support for their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial help.
Although this event has passed, it is likely that it will occur again next year. These events usually aren’t widely advertised until they are over, so please make sure you follow the organizations involved so that you can be notified before the next one happens.
In Philadelphia, InnovAge Pennsylvania helps seniors through their LIFE Program. LIFE stands for Living Independence for the Elderly. The goal of this program is to help seniors age safely in their own homes by providing supportive services.
Some of the services available through this program include:
- Meals (both at home and in congregate settings)
- Transportation for shopping, etc.
- Computer assistance
- Food expense assistance
- Emotional support
If you would like to participate in this program, you’ll need to use the “Do I Qualify” tool on the InnovAge website to find out if you are eligible. Start here.
Rhode Island has established a new statewide Low Income Housing Tax Credit program! This program gives developers an incentive to create affordable housing in the state by reducing their tax burdens.
This program was established in the recently-signed 2024 Budget. The credits will continue to be authorized until the program ends on June 30, 2028.
Meanwhile, an organization called Crossroads Rhode Island is helping to train low income people and those who live in homeless shelters to become CNAs. Leaders say this helps meet two needs, because it helps low income people get better jobs while also filling the state’s need for health care providers.
Duke University will offer free tuition to undergraduate students from the Carolinas who come from families that make less than $150,000 per year. Students whose household incomes are $65,000 or less will also get additional financial assistance that can help with housing, meals and other expenses.
This program will begin in the Fall 2023 semester.
Texas Legal Service Center has started putting virtual court kiosks around the state. These kiosks are designed to help low income Texans attend virtual meetings.
For example, the one at the La Retama Central Library includes a printer, camera, and microphone. It also includes helpful information about how to present yourself in court, different types of cases, and other information that may be helpful to someone who is attending a legal meeting.
Seniors in Desoto can also register for a free air conditioner from TXU Energy. The distribution event will happen between 9am and 11am on July 15 at Community Missionary Baptist Church. This event will also provide help with other basic needs like food, dental hygiene, emergency assistance and other needs. You will need to register online to attend. The organizers have said that registration does not guarantee you will receive an air conditioner, but it is necessary if you want to have the chance.
Low income homeowners have the opportunity to purchase an affordable 1,720 square foot home in Danville. This house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was recently built and is located at 324 Bradley Road. It is being offered to first-time homebuyers who meet HUD income limits. If you are interested, please contact Diane Pagan at (434) 799-5260 extension 2508.
Low income residents of Snohomish County who own or want to start their own businesses may b able to get help from the Snohomish County Small Business Innovation Assistance Program. This program can provide business coaching, loans, grants, and other opportunities.
If you would like to participate in this, you will need to apply by June 29. Classes will be held every Thursday between 6pm and 9am in Everett.
Applications are opening up for Emergency Low Income Energy Assistance! If you need help with your utilities, then you can apply for this program starting Monday June 26. You need to apply right away because the application window closes June 30th!
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a West Virginia resident.
- You must have a household income that is at or below 60% of the Area Median Income.
- You must have a disconnect notice or a critically low fuel level.
To apply, you will need to go to your local Department of Health and Human Resources office.
The Public Services Commission of Wisconsin is considering creating new low income energy assistance programs to help residents who are struggling with higher energy prices. One of the potential options include a Percentage of Income Payment Plan pilot, which would cap your bill at a certain percentage of your income.
You can contact PSC to let them know your thoughts.
Every week, the Low Income Relief team compiles a roundup of important news for low-income Americans. Highlights from this week’s report include new proposals for low income housing, an executive order for improved contraceptive care, and a variety of local news updates including improved health care access, new housing units, utility assistance, guaranteed income programs and more.