Finding affordable senior housing is crucial regardless of where you decide to call home. Therefore, it is important to explore the various assistance programs and resources that may be available to you based upon factors such as your age, citizenship status and income.
Many of the assistance programs that are available to seniors allow them to retain their independence by offering discounted rental agreements or by providing monthly benefits towards their housing costs. By learning more about these federal programs, you will gain a better understanding of the help that you may qualify for and know how to apply.
What are senior housing assistance programs?
Senior housing assistance programs are federal, state and local programs that are designed to provide qualifying senior citizens with safe, sanitary and affordable homes. While most of these housing programs are offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you may also be able to take advantage of housing initiatives and outreach programs within your local community.
Federal housing assistance programs are important to older adults who live on a reduced income or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In many cases, SSI payments or smaller pensions may not provide enough financial support for seniors as average rental prices continue to increase across the country. As a result, the need for low-income senior housing options and assistance programs has dramatically increased.
Learn How to Qualify for Senior Housing Assistance
While each housing assistance or outreach program may have its own eligibility requirements, many of these programs share general qualifications that a senior must meet to qualify for benefits. However, by learning about general requirements, you will gain a better understanding of whether or not you may be eligible as well as which qualifications to look for before you complete an application.
One of the main qualifiers for senior housing assistance programs is age. While most assistance programs require an older adult to be at least 62 years of age to be considered a senior citizen, other outreach programs may require adults to be at least 65 to receive benefits.
Most senior housing assistance programs are low-income programs that are designed to provide aid to senior citizens who need it the most. Therefore, you will likely find income-related eligibility requirements with most, if not all, of the federal, state and local resources that are available to you. Each of these programs will have its own income guidelines. If you do not qualify for one source of housing assistance, you may still qualify for another.
When submitting an application for any form of housing assistance, you will likely need to provide certain documentation that will support the information on your application, including proof of your income. Where documentation is required, it is crucial that you submit these documents as quickly as possible, as an application cannot move forward until all necessary documents have been collected.
Find Out How to Get Assistance Through HUD Senior Housing
The HUD senior housing program is one of the largest and most substantial housing assistant programs available to low-income senior citizens. Operated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this program provides qualifying elderly applicants with affordable rental properties at a discounted rate.
To apply for assistance, you must contact your local Housing Agency (HA) as these agencies receive funds directly from the HUD to maintain and operate public housing on a local level. When applying for senior housing assistance, you will be required to provide:
- Information about your household. Not only must you provide your name and date of birth, but you will need to provide the names and dates of birth of each family member that lives with you, even those that are not elderly.
- Your personal contact information. You will need to provide your HA with your contact information, including your telephone number and your current residential address. Should your contact information change, you must inform the HA of your updated contact information within a timely manner.
- Information related to your income. As this is an income-based program, you will be required to provide information related to your earnings as well as your banking information so that your financial eligibility can be verified by the HA.
- Information about your rental history. The HA will require you to include the contact information for any recent landlords that you have had.
After you have submitted an application, the HA will determine whether or not you are eligible to receive housing assistance under this senior housing program. If you qualify, you will either receive benefits immediately or you will be placed on a waiting list depending on whether or not funds are currently available.
However, if you are placed on a waiting list, it is worth knowing that many communities have local preferences that are designed to assist senior citizens who are in severe need of aid faster than some of the applicants who are already on the waiting list.
Reviewing Section 8 Senior Housing Options
The Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees and provides funding to the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as the Section 8 housing program. This program is available across the country in an effort to ensure that low-income senior citizens, disabled persons and families have access to safe, decent and affordable housing.
While Section 8 is similar to the previously discussed HUD program, it is different in that qualifying applicants can select a rental property that has been approved for the Section 8 program. Rather than receive a discount on rental amounts, the Housing Choice Voucher Program pays a portion of the participating senior’s rent directly to their landlord to reduce the amount that the beneficiary would need to pay.
In order to obtain Section 8 benefits, you must have low or very low-income. Benefits can only be provided if your income is not more than half of the median income in your county. You must also be a U.S. citizen or have a qualifying non-citizen status.
You can submit an application for Section 8 by contacting your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). There is a PHA in each county or metropolitan area. Once approved for benefits, you will either be able to receive benefits right away or you may be placed on a waiting list depending on funding availability. While more populated areas may have longer waiting lists, you may be able to find assistance faster by applying to multiple counties and areas that are not as densely populated.
Find More Senior Housing Resources with Eldercare Locator
If you are a senior citizen who needs affordable housing or other resources that can enable you to continue to live independently within your community, it is worth taking the time to contact Eldercare Locator.
Governed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Eldercare Locator can assist senior citizens with locating and applying for local, state and federal assistance programs and other resources. Depending on your needs, Eldercare Locator may be able to assist you in finding resources for support services, housing assistance, insurance, medical services and transportation.