Tips for Finding Low-Income Senior Housing

Low-income senior housing is available to qualified seniors in every state. Each state has a variety of programs to help seniors who are low-income, homeless, disabled or veterans acquire affordable housing.

Each program has specific requirements based mainly on age and income.

Seniors may find subsidized senior housing through the Section 8 program. They may also find suitable housing in a public housing unit. Public housing units are HUD managed facilities that provide rent to seniors at reduced rates. Seniors with disabilities may qualify for assisted living through the Section 811 program. This low-income senior housing program makes it possible for disabled individuals to remain in their home with the help of assistive services. Read further for valuable information on low-income housing for seniors and disabled individuals as well as details on how to qualify for elderly housing assistance.

Strategies for Locating Low-Income Senior Housing

Each state has a variety of low-income senior housing options available to those who qualify. The affordable senior housing programs are managed by a variety of agencies including federal agencies, local governments and community-based organizations.

Affordable Senior Housing for Homeless Individuals

Seniors who are homeless or facing homelessness may find temporary housing at a local homeless shelter. Many shelters provide housing from one day to several months depending on the individual’s needs and shelter guidelines.

Elderly Housing Assistance for Veterans

Veterans of the United States military may take advantage of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Through this program, disabled veterans receive affordable housing with assistive care services and lifetime support in maintaining permanent housing.

Low Income Elderly Housing for the Disabled

Those with disabilities qualify for housing assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 program. The program provides low-income housing to those who can live independently with help from supportive services. Supportive services include cooking, transportation and laundry. Applicants must apply for the subsidized senior housing program.

Related Article: HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly

The senior’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area to be eligible. The program uses the following sources to calculate income:

  • Earnings from wages
  • Retirement benefits payments
  • Interest from real estate
  • Assets such as savings accounts and checking accounts

Also, the individual must have a disability that impairs their ability to obtain gainful employment or one that results in death. Once admitted to the program, the individual works with a service coordinator who develops and oversees the individual’s care plan. The care plan includes items such as services required, training on independent living skills or help with seeking employment.

Affordable Senior Living Through the Section 8 Program

The Section 8 program provides subsidized senior housing through vouchers. The program, also known as The Housing Choice Voucher Program allows seniors to locate affordable senior housing. Through this program, seniors pay a portion of the rent while Section 8 pays the remaining balance. Applicants must select housing in the area that issued the voucher. However, there are certain cases where the individual may transfer their voucher to another state.

When qualifying low-income senior housing applicants, program rules specify that the senior must meet income guidelines. In general, an applicant’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area. The program considers wages, net profit from operating expenses and retirement benefits when calculating an individual’s income. Excluded from the income calculation are wages of anyone under the age of 18 years of age and reimbursable medical expenses.

To apply, seniors must contact the public housing authority (PAH) in their area. Due to the demand for affordable senior housing, there may be a waiting list. The length of the waiting list varies per area. Individuals are selected from the list on a first-come-first-served basis. However, consideration is given to those with extremely low income. Also, the low-income senior housing program places a higher priority on applicants who are homeless, living in substandard housing or paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent. As a result, those who meet these specific criteria move ahead of others on the list.

Low Income Housing for Senior Citizens in Public Housing Units

HUD provides low-income senior housing in public housing units located in each state. Public housing is an affordable senior housing option that offers properties of all types and sizes from single-family homes to apartment buildings. Housing agencies (HA) in each state administer the program. The HA uses a senior’s income to determine their eligibility for the program. The applicant’s income may not exceed 80 percent of the median income for their area. The program gives special consideration to those with an income at or below 50 percent of the median income for the area. Individuals must apply for affordable senior housing in a public unit through an HA. When applying, applicants must provide:

  • Names of all members of the household.
  • Name and address of current and previous landlords.
  • Estimate of income anticipated for the next 12 months.

The HA may also require an in-home interview to evaluate how the senior manages the upkeep of their home. Once the senior applies, HA places the applicant on a waiting list. Due to the demand for housing, seniors may face long wait times. Many housing authorities close the waiting list once they reach maximum funding for their agency.

HUD Section 202 Low Income Senior Housing

The HUD Section 202 program is a low-income senior housing program that works to minimize dependence on long-term care and skilled nursing facilities. The program is one that provides housing to seniors who can live independently with assistance from various support services. Support services might include cooking, transportation or laundry.

Seniors must be 62 years of age or older at the time of occupancy to qualify. Also, the applicant’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for their area. The program uses the following sources of income when determining eligibility for the program:

  • Wages
  • Retirement benefits
  • Net income from operation of businesses
  • Military pay
  • Welfare assistance

Once approved, the senior pays the highest of the following amounts for their rent:

  • 30 percent of the family’s adjusted income
  • 10 percent of the family’s monthly income
  • Welfare rent

The low-income housing for senior citizens program is open to all U.S. citizens as well as eligible non-citizens who can provide the required documentation.

Subsidized Senior Housing Through Section 502 Rural Housing Loan

Individuals in rural areas have access to low-income senior housing through Section 502 Rural Housing Loan. The program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers 100 percent financing for applicants to purchase a home in a rural area. Loan terms range from 33 years to 38 years for those with an income below 60 percent of the median income for the area. Once approved, seniors pay no more than 26 percent of their income for principal, interest, taxes and insurance. To qualify

To qualify for senior housing assistance through this program, seniors must demonstrate that they cannot obtain credit elsewhere. However, they must demonstrate enough income and acceptable credit to be approved for the USDA loan. Applicants may apply directly to a Rural Development office serving the county which they reside. There may be a waiting list for the program.

Related Article: Senior Housing Options

It might also interest you: