BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Many people in Birmingham are facing the troubling reality of not being able to afford a place to live, but city leaders and other organizations said rental and housing assistance are in place to help.

Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams said a significant portion of the Birmingham population is experiencing homelessness.

“Right now, in the city of Birmingham, we estimate as any given time there are approximately 1,000 individuals that are experiencing homelessness within our city limits,” Williams said.

He said it would be a disservice to Birmingham’s citizens to not provide avenues for affordable housing.

“As we look at the different ways of approaching homelessness, one of the main pillars is that there is an opportunity for affordable housing,” Williams said.

Organizations like the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District are offering housing assistance programs.

“We don’t want to see anyone homeless,” said Kangi Drake, director of the housing authority’s rental assistance program. “Anyway that we can apply for housing grants, housing opportunities to one put families in decent safe and sanitary housing, and then two, to educate and uplift them and help them reach their goals.”

Drake said its current mainstream voucher program helps Birmingham do just that.

This specifically targets non-elderly disabled families — a group she says has increased greatly and is too often overlooked.

“As a lot of people age or are maybe born with disabilities, it’s hard to find housing that suits their special needs,” Drake said.

In addition to the mainstream voucher program, Drake said it offers 600 additional special voucher programs for others who can qualify in various other ways.

She said beyond these programs, the ultimate goal is the help each family achieve self-sufficiency.

The waitlist for the mainstream voucher program will remain open for applicants until Monday at 3 p.m. To learn more about how you can apply for assistance, you can click here.