In recent years, the United States has seen a vast increase in the demand for housing due to population growth, low interest rates and a strong economy. But according to a recent “State of the Nation Housing” report, those economic tailwinds also led to increased home prices, record rates of housing unaffordability and cost-burdened renters. A Moody’s Analytics study found the typical American worker is considered rent-burdened, meaning 30 percent of the median U.S. income is required to pay the average cost of rent. 

As housing costs have increased substantially, options to aid families and communities are more important than ever. Here are six resources to help you better navigate affordable housing.

1. Affordable Housing Hub

The Affordable Housing Hub offers an extensive list of resources, applications and information to access public housing, Section 8, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), choice housing vouchers, and open waitlists. This website is dedicated to bringing renters updated information on affordable housing resources. 

2. Emergency Rental Assistance

Additionally, the same organization includes Emergency Rental Assistance which provides financial support from federal, state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations. The primary objective of this program is to help prevent homelessness and quickly offer aid to households that face financial challenges including overdue rent, upcoming rental payments or utility costs.

3. *Low-income Housing Programs

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a government agency providing rental assistance and local public housing. Designed to help low-income families and individuals, HUD assistance programs are granted to individuals based on their housing needs and eligibility. In terms of rental assistance, the HUD offers housing choice vouchers and REAC Property and Unit Inspections to provide families with the support they need to attain safe and affordable housing. 

4. *Down Payment Assistance Programs

FirstBank offers a variety of Down Payment Assistance (DPA) grants, equity programs and DPA loans including deferred payment, low-interest and forgivable loans.

5. Financial Hardship Assistance

There are federal and state programs available to homeowners facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. They can apply for assistance with their mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, and other housing costs. In addition, there are several foreclosure programs and hotlines, housing counselor information and active duty servicemember resources. This information can be found at

6. Homeownership Grants for Underserved Groups

In partnership with the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) and Impact Development Fund (IDF), FirstBank created the Providing Access to Homeownership (PATH) Program to help remove homeownership barriers for Black and African American families. The program provides individual $10,000 grants to help cover down payment and closing costs for first-time homebuyers who identify as Black or African American.

Additionally, PATH grants can be combined with other down payment assistance programs. For example, FirstBank’s partner, Gary Community Ventures established The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, where first-time Black and African American buyers can receive an additional $40,000 towards the purchase of a new home.

Affordable home ownership is critical to uplifting and supporting the communities we serve. Most importantly, it helps build generational wealth and financial stability. For more housing tips and tricks, visit the Homeownership page at

FirstBank Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS ID#458768.

*In order to be eligible for this program, the buyers’ annual income (including asset income) shall not exceed 80% of the Median Family Income, as determined by HUD.  Ask a FirstBank loan officer for additional information.

FirstBank determines actual loan qualification only after receipt of a complete loan application and analysis of pertinent information, such as (but not limited to) credit history, income documentation, and property valuation.

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