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    Categories: Post-Prison

Housing Advice for Low Wage Workers

Housing AdviceI have firsthand experience in housing advice since I had to work a low wage job post prison. I know how hard it is to find a decent and affordable place to call home when you really don’t have enough funds. After living in a place I could just barely afford in a horrible neighborhood, I decided to move back in with my parents. This helps me save money for when I am ready to find a place in a good neighborhood. I also don’t have many things to do if I had my own place, like cooking and cleaning. I assist with these tasks, but now, it’s not all on me. This could be an option for you, but if you have kids, it may not be the best choice. If you need decent housing while working a low-wage job, I have good news for you; it’s possible and here’s how.

I researched some information and found most articles came up saying that there was no place in the country that a low-wage worker could afford even a one-bedroom apartment. They based their information on the common budgeting plan for rental which states that a person should spend between twenty-five to thirty-three percent of their income on housing.  Most of the articles never offer housing advice to the millions of workers who live this tragic lifestyle. I did find one article that helped me with some ideas for housing advice, which I share below.

Work On Your Credit

I know you need a solution like yesterday, but half the battle is your credit score and your timely monthly payments. You probably aren’t in a great situation to be able to pay off your debt and increase your score, but every little bit counts. I even add a couple extra cents to bills because change adds up. The next thing you should do is get a secured credit card. A secured credit card is just simply a credit card that you fund. Go to your bank and ask for one, but you need at least $500. This becomes the balance of your card and you can use it to pay your utilities (which you already pay). Then next month, pay the money back and then use it again to pay your utilities. All you’re doing is taking the money you use to pay for things, placing it on a “credit card”, using the money how you normally would, and then paying yourself back – only to use it again next month. Do this for a year and you will establish credit or increase your score.

According to the article on Rentberry.com, you should try to get a cosigner. I know how hard this is because if you already have a less than stellar record for paying your bills on time, then you’re most likely not going to be able to find a cosigner. Also, I know that bad credit runs in families because no one has the knowledge to increase and maintain their credit score. If you fall into that category, then break the cycle and learn how to do better.

Money Talks

The article also says that you should try to offer more money for your security deposit. Have you ever noticed that people buying a house with cash seem to get a better deal? It is usually much cheaper than the asking price which is based on financing. The same goes for renting. Landlords want to pay their bills just like you do. Staying in a place you hate for one or two more months just to increase your deposit could make all the difference when trying to gain favor with a landlord and rent a good apartment or condo.

Hi, My Name Is

That’s right, it’s time to start introducing yourself and networking to find someone that will have mercy on you and your situation. When you have all of the above ready, you can find someone willing to lend you a helping hand because you have all your ducks in a row. This shows that you are a hard working, goal accomplishing individual. Ask your co-workers where they live and if it’s a nice place. They may have a roommate in order to live there, but you may be able to find a deal with the offer you will present.

When you visit the apartment rental office, don’t start with the normal questions about how much rent is. Be polite and engaging by asking how their day is – small talk is quite calming for both parties and it makes you seem less desperate for their favor. Be bold when speaking to them, but not arrogant. Let them know what you are willing to spend and ask what they can do for you. Sometimes, they may have information about programs that can help you afford their apartment.

Finding a place to live isn’t impossible when you have the right housing advice. Working hard is exactly what you know how to do and when done with intelligence, it will pay off in the long run. Try these tips and see how things work for you. I’m sure you can make some progress on your way to better living and until the government decides to raise minimum wage.