In the U.S., there are more than 35 million seniors, and that number is continuing to grow. Many of these older adults want to stay in their communities rather than move into a nursing home or assisted living residence.
The good news is that there are several affordable senior housing options available right now, which can help ease the financial burden on you during your golden years. Unfortunately, finding low-income or subsidized housing as a senior can be difficult.
Seniors often have limited mobility, require accessibility features and may also have special needs (such as assistance with medical devices) that limit their housing options further still.
Here are 5 tips on how to find low-income or subsidized senior housing so you can get on the fast track to moving into your new home sooner rather than later.
1) What is a low-income senior housing facility?
Senior housing can range from very low-income (such as a room in a boarding house) to very high-income (such as a penthouse apartment in a luxury high-rise). Low-income senior housing is generally defined as housing that is affordable to seniors whose income is less than 50% of the area median income (AMI), with a few variations.
Low-income senior housing, like all other kinds of subsidized housing, is usually available to seniors who meet certain criteria, such as: having a low income, being at least 62 years old, having little or no equity in their home, having a low monthly debt-to-income ratio and/or meeting other special needs, such as having a physical disability or mental illness.
2) Where to find low-income and subsidized housing
The best way to find low-income senior housing is to reach out to organizations in your community that help low-income seniors find housing. Many of these organizations can also help you navigate the application process and find the right type of senior living for your needs, whether it is low-income or not.
Here are some places you can look to find help with your housing search:
– Local nonprofit organizations
– Local government agencies
– Your county’s department of aging
– Your county’s department of social services
– Your city’s housing authority
– Veteran and military organizations in your area
– Your faith community
– Your doctor’s office
These organizations can help you not only find low-income housing but also apply for the assistance needed and sometimes get prioritized for certain types of housing, such as a room in a low-income senior boarding house.
3) HUD senior housing
HUD stands for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a government organization that operates affordable housing programs. One of these programs is HUD-subsidized housing, which helps low-income seniors find affordable housing.
HUD-subsidized or “HUD-assisted” housing is defined as housing where at least one of the units in the building is subsidized by the government and available to low-income families. HUD-subsidized housing is often called “public housing” or “subsidized housing” and is generally located in multi-unit buildings.
While the amount of federal money and services provided to the residents of each building varies, residents of HUD-subsidized housing often receive rental assistance to help with the cost of their rent.
4) Housing Authority senior housing
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the federal government’s Section 8 housing voucher program, which provides low-income seniors with vouchers that can be used to help pay for housing in the private market.
Some local HUD offices also offer “project-based Section 8” housing assistance. This type of assistance provides housing vouchers specifically for low-income senior housing complexes (such as senior high-rise apartments or low-income senior mobile home parks).
These vouchers for senior housing are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are often in high demand. If you are interested in this type of HUD-subsidized housing, you should apply as soon as possible.
5) Co-op and mutual help senior housing
Cooperative or “mutual help” senior housing is a member-owned or -managed organization (such as a nonprofit or a corporation) that provides affordable housing to its members. In this arrangement, residents help to manage the organization by voting on issues and performing work, such as gardening, to help maintain the property.
If you are a low-income senior and are interested in a co-op or mutual help senior housing, there may be a waiting list for new members. However, you can find out about these organizations in your area by getting in touch with your local Department of Housing and Urban Development office or local nonprofit organizations that help low-income seniors find affordable housing.