1. Owning a Home - Cheaper than you think with assistance available

2. Subsidized Rent

3. Shelters & Rehab Programs

4. Unconventional Options

 

 

1. Owning a Home - Cheaper than you think

Did you know that you can be a homeowner even if you receive around $700 a month? Month per month, owning a home is often cheaper than renting, not to mention the tremendous long term benefit of tax incentives, gaining equity over time, etc. There are loans out there where you don't need a down payment or any other cash to get a home, where even initially, owning a home can take less than renting. 

 

Multiple people whose sole income is SSI & were in bad rental situations with unresponsive landlords have called me and I've been able to direct them to loans where they were eligible to purchase a home. In fact, I've never had someone with SSI that I can remember who I haven't been able to get qualified after I connected them to one of my go to SSI lenders. Not all lenders can qualify them, which is important to note in case you've ever been rejected. The first time, it took me stretching out to my lender contacts after my initial group of go - to lenders at various banks could not help them. After I knew where to connect the first person with SSI with, connecting the next person with SSI to the right lender was easy. 

 

For instance, one person whose sole income of less than $750 was SSI with a credit score of around 650. I directed her to a loan that is paid over the course of 38 years (rather than the standard 30 or less). The interest on that government subsidized loan for that person was only 1%, which was much less than the traditional 3.5-5% at the time. With the loan I directed her to, she was eligible for an $80,000 dollar loan, which was $20,000 higher than another loan she was also eligible for. There was no down payment requirement nor a requirement for any other initial funds, which was perfect since she did not have any savings. She qualified for double the home that she eventually purchased (she purchased a home for $40,000), and her house payments now are significantly lower than what her rent payments were before. If she had purchased one for $80,000, her rent payments would have been very similar to what they were before, just under $500. In addition to that, she's now a homeowner that doesn't have to deal with a landlord that doesn't want to fix anything! At the time of this writing, in Norfolk, up to $40,000 is available in down payment assistance. Habitat for Humanity offers 0% interest loans if you are willing to volunteer for the required time and other requirements it takes with Habitat. A no money down, below-market interest rate is available throughout VA without the volunteer hours required of Habitat for Humanity throughout VA for those below median income for their area and household size through NACA​.

 

The above home in Hampton, VA was purchased by a client of mine for $80,000. The inside is in similar condition to the outside if you're wondering. It had no appraisal required repairs, meaning it was in at least decent condition if not good. It's in a decent neighborhood, where the Zestimates for the adjacent homes and the homes across the street is over $170,000 at the time of this writing (within a few months of purchase). The cost to rent it out should be around double the monthly cost to pay the mortgage. 

 

Think that that's an unusually good home for that price & low mortgage payment? It was the best deal where we were looking that we could find at the time in my client's price range. Choosing the right agent is critical to find the best deal. In case you've never worked with a real estate agent before to buy a house, it's important to know that you wouldn't need to pay me anything for me to help you to find a home or for me to refer you to another agent who you also wouldn't need to pay. Also, while this home was $80,000, some homes sell for under $30,000 in Hampton Roads, but keep in mind that they are usually going to be in much worse condition in a worse neighborhood. 

 

Even if you don't live in VA, I can connect you to real estate agents in other states. I'll need to know what your income (can include SSI, disability, etc.) is, how long you have been receiving that income, if you are disabled or elderly, and where you live. The less you make, the more programs & assistance you're probably eligible for. At the same time, it's best to constantly seek to increase your income, as your own income is the most effective tool in helping you to become a homeowner. 

I was able to cover my mortgage in full from the rental income I received the one month that I attempted to rent out 2 rooms in my 3 bedroom house before getting married. Consider renting out rooms from your house, although keep in mind that some (but not all - I used one) down payment assistance programs won't allow it. 

Contact Adam at (757) 879 9651 about the best options for you for homeownership if you have some sort of income available. If not, I encourage you to acquire income if possible & in the meantime, look below for additional options, knowing that homeownership is often the most ideal scenario for those that are planning on being somewhere for at least 3-6 years, depending on the market (3 years in Hampton Roads). With a rental property, there are deadbeat landlords sometimes. With a shelter, sometimes there are bedbugs & rape. With a house that you own, you are your own master. 

 
 

2. Subsidized Rent

http://www.vbcdc.org/  (Virginia Beach)

https://www.vbcdc.org/permanent 

https://www.vbcdc.org/housing-for-veterans (Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton).

Housing and Development Corporation of Hampton Roads - Subsidized Rent. – While subsidized, the rent seems to still be higher than the same property on a mortgage.

Laney – property manager -

806 – 6049 –Apartments start at 550 and homes start at 750. Many clients have case managers for SSI etc. I do not recommend it for most due to the price despite subsidy when you can own a home more cheaply if your credit can substantiate it or if you use a program where credit is not considered, but it’s an option available. For those who wouldn't be disciplined enough to save the difference in cost between subsidized rent and subsidized home ownership, it's a particularly good option. That said, I would recommend an automatic transfer of the difference in cost to a separate bank account used exclusively for home repairs so that minimal self-discipline is required.

http://hdcofhr.org/about-us/

http://hdcofhr.org/properties/

http://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-search/Virginia/

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/lihtc.html

Williamsburg/James City County:

http://www.jamescitycountyva.gov/HousingCommunityDev/Rental-Assistance-Programs.html

 

 

 

3A. Homeless shelters:

PORT Rotating shelters in churches

HELP rotating shelters in churches

H.E.L.P. House Family Shelter - 30 day assistance while you get back on your feet

Peninsula Rescue Mission - Men typically stay for a few days to a few weeks. Some apply for and are accepted into a 6-12 month program.

For a directory of shelters in multiple states or more locally, click here for http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/ or here for http://www.shelterlistings.org/. 

Check out a map of options by searching on Abba List

 

Norfolk Homeless Shelters (as found on https://www.tuck.com/sleeping-homeless/#va )

https://www.unionmissionministries.org/

5100 E Virginia Beach Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23502
(757) 627-8686

  • Serving men, women and families

  • Emergency shelter

  • Meals, clothing and toiletries provided

  • Shower and laundry facilities

  • Medical care

  • Chapel services

  • Counseling and case management

 

http://virginiasalvationarmy.org/hrva/programs/mens-shelter/

Hope Center

203 W 19th St
Norfolk, VA 23517
(757) 622-0674

  • Serving men

  • Emergency shelter

  • Breakfast and dinner provided

  • Substance abuse counseling

  • Job readiness program

  • Clothing closet

  • Computer lab

 

Home Again Richmond
11 E Main St
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 648-4177

  • Serving men, women and families

  • Emergency shelter

  • Rapid re-housing

  • Transitional housing for veterans

  • Permanent supportive housing

  • Life skills workshops

  • Case management

 

The Genieve Shelter
Address kept confidential
Suffolk, VA
(757) 251-0144

  • Serving women and children

  • Emergency shelter up to 30 days

  • Permanent supportive housing

  • Individual and group counseling

  • Children’s services

  • Job readiness program

  • Life skills workshops

  • Case management

 

The Lighthouse Center
825 18th St
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 437-4911

  • Serving men and women

  • Day shelter

  • Shower facilities

  • Life skills workshops

  • Case management

 

Avalon Center
Address kept confidential
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 258-5022

  • Serving women and children

  • Emergency shelter up to 30 days

  • Transitional housing

  • Shower and laundry facilities

  • Individual and group counseling

  • Legal advocacy

  • Case management

 

Natasha House
Address kept confidential
Yorktown, VA
(757) 898-1993

  • Serving women and children

  • Emergency shelter

  • Counseling and case management

 

3B Rehab Programs:

Youth Challenge (Christian program with lodging for adult men "dedicated to the restoration of lives and families that have been devastated by drug addiction and alcoholism.")


Oxford House - rehab for alcohol and drug addiction where residents share expenses for the house as long as they stay clean, typically for a year:  https://www.oxfordvacancies.com/ 

https://www.oxfordhouse.org

http://vaoxfordhouse.org/how-to-apply/

 

4. UNCONVENTIONAL OPTIONS: 

As someone who was intentionally homeless for as much as 8 weeks at a time between 2009 & 2010, I have slept in planes, cars, tents, RV's, cabins, homemade shelters (that's me in the pic below in one - I slept great through a storm in it and it worked great for the days that I was using it), rotating church shelters, permanent shelters, under trees, in train stations, boats, on shuttles, underneath tables, at homes of unknown strangers for free via Couchsurfing, and in police stations. When considering unconventional options, it is important to note that in many cases there is an added element of danger, which should be thoughtfully considered and researched in order to take appropriate precautions and weigh whether a particular unconventional option is best for you. It is important to take additional precautions when you are not able to see reviews or make reviews for someone. Even when you are able to make reviews, I have seen where people had horrible experiences doing something like AirBNB where a woman was drugged in another country by her host who offered her something to drink. Even law enforcement in this country and especially in others in the 3rd world (2/3 of the world) including Mexico cannot be trusted completely. My confidence in unconventional options is based primarily on my belief that God led me in some of the most dangerous cases and my training and experience in self-defense including Taekwondo and Jiu-Jitsu & high contact sports including boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, rugby, football, and lacrosse. It's also important to note that my closest encounters with death were not in such scenarios, but while underwater for at least 10 or 15 minutes at my parents' multi-million dollar estate around a year after graduating college & after falling asleep at the wheel with cruise control on going 65 & literally plowing through a forest in a car which I did not think capable of it (which is another story - I escaped without a scratch & the car even barely made it to a mechanic shop without a tow from where I plowed through the forest. I had AAA, which I didn't know, which gave a free tow from there for 100 miles, and from that location to where I worked, according to the driver, was 99 miles).

 

If going unconventional, security is often going to be an issue. Consider placing multiple GPS tracking devices in hidden spots with valuables. Video cameras and locks are also especially helpful when going unconventional. Don't forget about free showers at the YMCA if you sign up for their low-income program for a free membership, which is a great prospect if you have a low income & are going unconventional. Also, consider combining resources with one or a few other trusted people if going unconventional to split costs. The more socially adept you are, the better partner you will pick and the better your chances for developing a relationship which stays beneficial for both parties involved. A parasitic relationship, either way, is a recipe for failure where they will want to leave you or where you will want to leave them. 

 

 

Various Possibilities:

Find campsites & other similar unconventional low cost or free places to sleep here. Keep in mind that the list is not comprehensive, and it's best to also search Google Maps for campsites. Campsites sometimes merely allow tents, but at others times are set up to host RV's cabins, etc. 

 

House Sitting is a solid option and there are many different opportunities for it if you are open to having a roof over your head while also having some responsibilities for that home, such as feeding the dog while someone is away on vacation, etc. Here is a forum of various people's resources and experiences as well as questions with house sitting. H

 

 

Parking lots - Find Walmarts that let you park overnight here. I met someone near Vail, CO who lived at a Walmart for whole seasons in a van that they had converted to be more like an RV with a bed in it. He was one of my ice climbing guides. 

 

Liveaboarding - Some boats sell for practically nothing (check Craigslist - I see a boat with a trailer that ran last year with a cabin for $200 on Norfolk Craigslist at the time of this writing), sometimes even being given away for free (check Freecycle & Craigslist - I see a free boat w a free trailer on Craiglist in Norfolk at the time of this writing), and you can find places to live on a boat for free, especially in places near free dingy docks such as in downtown Hampton on the Hampton River. Be sure to check local laws if going that route. At other places, you can live on a boat for as low as a few hundred/month. At Ocean Yacht Marina in Portsmouth, for instance, you can have a 23' boat paying $195.50/month to live aboard it ($8.50/month/ft w annual rate) which includes water, with an additional fee for power at 11 cents/kilowatt, which is close to the rate you'd be paying at a house. Keep in mind solar options to avoid even the expense of power if you can afford panels and batteries. If going that route, go online and look up all the local marinas, and start with my list here. Also, there are places where you can anchor your boat for free, although in those cases, having video cameras, GPS trackers on valuables such as a dingy or kayak, & locks on your boat are important to deter thieves. Also, having a paddleboard and a car with a paddleboard rack are helpful if anchoring your boat. I have seen where someone anchored their boat for free with no cameras and it was vandalized over time. Some questions to ask for marinas include the following:

1. Are live-aboards allowed?

2. What is the cost for those staying annually (or whatever other time you want)?

3. Is there any additional cost for water/electric and are they included?

4. Are showers available?

5. Does the boat need to be approved before I can book the slip?

6. Is wifi available and at what cost or is it included?

7. Does the boat need to be insured?

8. Is parking available and is there any cost to that?

9. What is the lowest low tide the dock experiences?

10. Are there laundry facilities and is there a cost?

11. Are there minimum or maximum sizes for boats?

12. Are there any other requirements for liveaboards (some ask for references, might check your credit, do a background check, etc.)

 

You can own a lot at an RV lot, as you can see here

 

You can own property and sometimes have an RV on it, as you can see here

 

Train stations and police stations are also options sometimes, but it depends on the place. Some will let you and some will kick you out. 

 

AirBnB - at the time of this writing I'm seeing as low as $10/night in Hampton Roads

 

Jobs/Interships that include housing - If you can't find any jobs locally or nationally, and are open to working for food/housing or going international for higher paying jobs that include housing, click here. For the homeless that are willing to work and can get along well with others who are unable to find jobs or shelter, this one is an excellent prospect while seeking a more permanent occupation or for the long term. In some cases, you might only need to work 4 hrs a day, & sometimes even less, for housing and food. Just one of the resources I list on that document have 29 opportunities presently in VA at the time of this writing. Sometimes these options are limited to only 1 person or 2 people, but not always. Sometimes there are minimum stay requirements and other requirements, but options vary widely. 

 

Craigslist - at the time of this writing I'm seeing as low as $250/month including utilities and wifi for someone who is working, on social security, or disabled and on disability (basically any form of income that would adequately cover the rent and your additional expenses in their eyes). If something like that is not available when you look, keep checking back. If it's not available in Hampton Roads, you can always check other locations as well. In some cases, there is work that someone will request to subsidize the rent. 

CouchSurfing - people almost never want you to stay for more than a week (and sometimes not more than 1 night), but these are free stays & I've used this site for around half a dozen free stays with people when traveling & love it.

I once "surfed" at a man's home in Charlottesville that later became my client in real estate. Here is one person's experience living on an average of $10/day that includes Couchsurfing and alternatives: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-ultra-cheap-interview/ 

 

Other Countries in 2/3 of the world - You can stay at hostels in some places in other countries such as in South East Asia for as low as $1/night ! You can also get low cost food and daily necessities - see more about that in the paragraph below on credit card points which can help you to get there and stay there. Keep in mind that things like social security, SSI, & medicare may be impacted by living outside the country. To see more about the difference between social security and SSI, click here. While social security is often conducive to overseas living, SSI & medicare are less conducive to it.

 

Credit Card points - see more on that on my transportation page and my credit card page . You can stay at hotels for free with points, and you can get a lot more bang for your buck in other countries in 2/3 of the world like most of South East Asia, Africa, Mexico, Central America, and South America. You can also get to those countries for free or at dramatically reduced cost with points. I have flown to many countries before with points. For instance, (see links on my transportation page for each card) if you got the Chase Sapphire Reserve (50k initial signup/spend bonus), Chase Ink Preferred (80k initial signup/spend bonus at the time of this writing), Chase Ink Cash (50k initial signup/spend bonus at the time of this writing), and Chase Ink Unlimited (50k initial signup/spend bonus at the time of this writing) this year, and were able to meet the initial spending requirements, you would only pay a $450 annual fee for the CSR (you could cancel it before year 2 and the same with the Ink Preferred to avoid any future annual fees), get a $300 travel credit back for $300 in travel spending (effectively a $150 annual fee with that factored in). You could then go to NYC by Amtrak with points for free, you could fly out of JFK to Delhi for just under 30k British Airways Avios 1 way + a fee of $324 (alternatively the Chase Sapphire Reserve's pay with points feature would be a way to get to Thailand from NYC for <35k points + no fees as long as the paid fare is low as pictured & the airlines is one of the majority that partners with Chase for their portal). You could then stay at a hotel for under 700 points per night. Round trip you might spend $648 for the flights +$150 in CC fees and pay for your daily needs and be at the hotel or others of similar cost for about a year! While there, you could continue to rack up credit card points to increase your stay even longer! Also, if you have an income from social security or disability of over $500, you might just want to stay over there if you are in good health because of the low cost of living (including housing), but if not, you would definitely want to have the ability to fly back if anything serious happened medically if you had medical coverage in the US or if you were going to get care uncovered.

To see how going outside the US might impact your social security, and what to do in advance, go here.

To see how to get more bang for your buck with nicer hotels starting at 5k points per night, check Hyatt's website which is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase where I have booked hotels to get more than 3 cents per point at times rather than 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve pay with points feature. 

Options in Bangkok, Thailand include one hotel rated 4.5 on Tripadvisor for <800 pts/night!

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For a list that includes most of the list below with additional unconventional options, go here.  While not applicable to most on this website, if you already have a home and want to experience life in another location, try home exchange
If you sleep under bridges or in other places illegally, you run the risk of cops going in and ripping apart all of your stuff or confiscating it. Police can cause more damage than vandals at times, often being ordered by cities to tear up & trash homeless camps. While I have slept in risky places that I wasn't supposed to when I was intentionally homeless over a decade ago shortly after college, it's good to have less risky options. 
For a list that includes most of the list here with additional unconventional options, go here.  
 
Need help keeping a home? Click here for a list of numerous options.