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Helpful Tips

Thinking about changing your living situation can be overwhelming. There are many decisions to make and many issues to consider. Here are some resources that may help you make important decisions as you search for housing. Download the documents below for some additional information. The Monroe Housing Collaborative's Community Housing Liaison is available to provide guidance and assistance to help you navigate the many housing choices available to you. Complete the housing questionnaire, or click the Contact Us link below to schedule an appointment with the Community Housing Liaison.

Where Do I Begin?

It can be somewhat overwhelming to think about moving out on your own.  You may be wondering how to begin, what should you do first?  The Monroe Housing Collaborative is here to help you in your housing search and work with you to make the many decisions you will need to make as you move through the process.  Download I Want to Move Out On My Own for some ideas about where and how to begin your search.  The Individualized Housing Options Worksheet  and the Basic Housing Furnishings and Supplies Checklist are also good tools that can assist you in the process. 

Is it better to rent or buy?

Deciding to rent or buy is something that requires much thought.  The decision must be made based on finances, resources, length of time you plan to stay in one location, and many other factors.  A large part of this decision is related to the long and short term cost.  Purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision most adults will ever make.  Once you decide to purchase a home there are several home ownership programs that may assist you.  Click here to check out our resources for home ownership.

How Much Rent Can I Afford?

Figuring out how much rent you can afford involves looking at many pieces of information.  Developing a budget that includes all your expenses is a good place to begin.  Download the Housing Budget Estimator below to begin developing your budget.  Generally, your rent and utilities (Heat, Hot Water, Electric) should equal no more than 30% of your income.  It is important to remember that your entire budget must be considered before you can determine what you can actually afford.  The Monroe Housing Collaborative's Community Housing Liaison can help you determine what amount is reasonable for you to pay for rent, as well as guide you along the path to finding a more independent, safe, accessible and affordable place to live.  

How Do I Decide on a Roommate?

There are many things to consider when choosing a roommate, including if you want to live with someone.  Finding the right roommate will mean you will have to find out about the people you might live with.  You will want to know what their habits are, how they like to spend their time, what their interests are, and if you are compatible on many levels.  Download Should I Share or Live Alone and the Roommate Profile Worksheet for some ideas as to where to begin.  Our Community Housing Liaison can help you work through some of those questions, participate in interviews, or help you evaluate what information you have.  

How Can I Save or Earn More Money Without Losing My Current Financial Benefits?

This is a question many people on who receive disability or other benefits wonder about. You may be concerned that getting a job will decrease the amount of your benefits, and make living independently more difficult. There are several ways to earn and/or save money to increase your financial stability without decreasing or losing your benefits right away. Many of these programs will help you work towards financial self-sufficiency to eliminate government funded supports. Others will allow you to save money, or earn money to supplement your current benefits. Download Financial Considerations for information about available programs. 

How do I Get Copies of My Benefits Award Letters

Benefits Award letters for Social Security, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be obtained on the Social Security website.  Click here to connect to the website.  They can also be obtained by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).  You can also obtain your benefits award letter from the local Social Security Office.  Click here to obtain the address nearest you.

If you receive SSP which is the states portion of your SSI, you must call 1-855-488-0541 and have the benefits award letter sent to you. 

How Do I Get a Copy of My Birth Certificate?

Most affordable property managers will require you to produce proof of identification and citizenship. You will need an original copy of your birth certificate with the raised seal from the municipality in which you were born.  If you were born in the Greater Rochester Area, you can click the links below to find out how to get a copy of your birth certificate.  Click here if you were born elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad to find out how to get a copy of your birth certificate.

How Do I Get a Copy of My Social Security Card?

A  Social Security Card can be obtained from the Social Security Administration.  Click here to go to the Social Security Administration website for instructions on how to obtain a new Social Security Card or a copy of your Social Security Card.   To find a Social Security Office near where you live, click here

How Do I Apply for a Non-Driver ID Card?

To apply for housing you will need a photo ID for proof of identity.  If you do not have a driver's license, or other form of acceptable photo ID you can apply for a Non-Driver ID card at your local Department of Motor Vehicle Office (DMV).  Click here for instructions for obtaining a Non-Driver ID card.  Click here to find a DMV office near you.

I have an OPWDD ISS Housing Subsidy, how do I explain that to my landlord?

Many landlords are not aware of the OPWDD Individual Suports and Services Housing Subsidy.  This subsidy works like other government funded subsides such as the Federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8).  It is designed to support eligible individuals who choose to live on their own.  Tenants are expected to contribute apporximately 30% of their countable income toward their housing costs.  Below is a brochure developed by the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) that will provide additional information about this subsidy for yourself, your family or your landlord.


Individualised Housing Options Worksheet Basic Household Furnishings and Supplies Checklist Roommate Profile Worksheet Housing Budget Estimator Family Self-Sufficiency Fact Sheet Should I Share or Live Alone I Want to Move Out On My Own OPWDD Housing Subsidy Information for Landlords Financial Considerations Plan for Achieving Self Support What Information do I Need to Apply for Housing

Contact the MHC for individual support with your housing needs.

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