HIP Tool: Direct Household Assistance

Jurisdictions can establish financial assistance programs that provide direct monetary assistance to low-income renters, owners and first-time homebuyers. Forms of assistance can include monthly rent and utility support for low-income households, grants and loans for low-income homeowners undertaking weatherization and repair, or grants and loans for first time homebuyers for down payment, closing costs and mortgage assistance.


To cover temporary financial hardships and prevent homelessness, mortgage, rental, and utility assistance programs provide families with low-interest loans or grants to bridge a gap in payment. This ensures stability and safety for low-income households. In the central Puget Sound region, state funding for transitional housing and rental assistance is distributed through county human services offices and non-profit organizations. Utility assistance programs are generally offered through the winter and early spring months. These programs are generally available only for very low-income residents.

Many financial assistance programs aid low- to moderate-income households in purchasing a home. Down-payment assistance programs offer subsidized loans to low- and moderate-income homebuyers who would otherwise qualify for mortgages, but are unable to afford a large sum of money at a single time. Organizations that offer alternative ownership arrangements, such as community land trusts, offer down-payment grants that raise the purchasing power of would-be homeowners.

Grant and loan funds are also available for low-income homeowners for rehabilitation and weatherization of their homes. See the Preservation tool for more detail.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Urban Centers
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental

Affordability Level

  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Affordability