For developers and housing advocates, it can be difficult to find the money needed to develop affordable housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development knows this, which is why it has set up several programs aimed at helping develop affordable housing. Each year, HUD allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to help create or rehabilitate affordable housing, related infrastructure, and public service problems that affect populations with less resources.

In 2010, the largest allocation was for homeless development assistance. The money is intended for projects that create bed space for the homeless and increase their access to employment and educational opportunities.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said this latest round of funding was in line with the Obama administration's commitment to end "the preventable tragedy of homelessness ..." The funding was made available through HUD's Continuum of Care (CoC) program designed to help the homeless.

Also in 2010, several states received disaster recovery grants, which will be awarded through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The money will be used to rebuild both housing and infrastructure.

Finally, HUD made several million dollars available to colleges that have high percentages (at least 25 percent) of full-time, Hispanic, or African-American students. The funding can be used to buy and rehabilitate existing properties, demolish badly damaged buildings and rebuild on the same land, improve public facilities and support public services such as childcare and job training. In this case, they were used to develop affordable housing and related needs in the communities around the colleges.

HUD's many programs and grants have requirements that vary by program. Deadlines and application processes also vary. Detailed information can be found on HUD's website.

As always, there is limited funding and far too many honey-do projects on the list. How do you decide which ones to do first?

Budget is always a good factor. If you can not afford the larger projects, save it for later and make some smaller ones. Time is the second issue. If you only have a few days, small projects are more likely to be completed than a major overhaul. Consider your skills. If you do not know how to replace your roof, you need time to learn, gather materials and then tackle it. It may be better to hire it, but it is more expensive.

Above all, look at your home for anything potentially unsafe and tackle them first. Make sure smoke alarms have new batteries, the same for carbon monoxide detectors. Give your hot water tank a review as well as the oven and air conditioner. Organize and dispose of substances that may be flammable or hazardous to children, such as paints, thinners, and other chemicals.

Put away all hazardous materials and lock them. Put outlet covers on outlets for children, put railings up stairs, clean the gutters, and trim the tree branches away from the roof. Clean the chimney and make sure that the exterior and appropriate interior areas of the house are well lit.

The list of projects is very long, but each one can be done in a few hours. Once these are done and your home runs smoothly and safely, you can tackle the larger jobs with more confidence.

Author's Bio: 

Investor confidence in the market for CDOs and all mortgages was shaken during the recession of the big housing bubble and rightly so.