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      Searching for housing on a tight budget

      With so many housing choices, where do you even start? The first thing to do is take a look at your financial situation.

      "First of all again, define that affordability, be willing to do the homework and try to find a housing location that either has a subsidy or fits your economic profile," said Amy Lerlie, Housing Services Director at the Alger-Marquette Community Action Board.

      Lerlie suggests allotting about 30 percent of your monthly income toward your housing expense.

      When you think about it, even if someone brings in $1000 a month, that is only $300 to go toward housing expenses. There are plenty of people out there that bring in less than that per month and might struggle to even make that manageable.

      "The best way to find those affordable housing properties that have some subsidy to augment your monthly housing expense is probably using Michigan State Housing Development Authority. They have a housing locator on their website," said Lerlie.

      Other options include visiting the Alger-Marquette Community Action Board or even your local public housing authority.

      If you choose to go the website route, make sure you use a reputable source. Some websites don't provide protection against scams or bad deals with landlords.

      "If it sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is. Generally, those landlords will offer a month to month lease agreement. While it may be affordable at the moment, that's not stable housing,â?? said Lerlie.

      Some landlords will accept government subsidies such as a housing choice voucher to supplement a part of the rent. Unfortunately, waiting lists for something like a housing choice voucher are quite long.

      The key is to be patient and use the free resources that are available.