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How to Find Low-Income Senior Housing – Ask After55.com

Many senior citizens today live on fixed incomes, and subsidies such as Social Security aren’t always enough to pay for living expenses, including housing. This forces many elderly people to seek low-income senior housing because they can’t afford other places to live. That leads to today’s Ask After55.com question:

How do you find low-income senior housing?

If you or a loved one is planning to rent, this information can help you find affordable 55-plus housing.

Figures of elderly man and woman, walking between stacks of coins, to illustrate how to pay for low-income senior housing.

How HUD Can Help Seniors

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can provide rental assistance for low-income seniors in four ways:

  • Privately-Owned Subsidized Housing: Apartment owners who receive assistance from HUD can offer reduced rents to low-income residents.
  • Public Housing: Contact your local public housing agency to find affordable apartments for low-income seniors.
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8): You can use this voucher to pay for all or part of your rent in a residence of your own. Your local public housing agency can help.
  • HUD Resource Locator: Use this tool to find HUD regional and field offices, public housing agencies, USDA rural housing and more.

Local Renting Information

Rental help is available in your state from HUD. You can find special-needs housing and affordable rentals, as well as get assistance with your utility bills and more. You or your elderly loved one can get a low-income tax credit from HUD. Through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Database, you can find affordable housing or rental properties supported by this HUD program. (User tip: Select your state, then city or county, then select “Targeted to Elderly.”)

How to Qualify for Low-Income Senior Housing

HUD also helps senior citizens through its Section 202: Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. Housing projects that are part of this program include apartment rehabilitation or construction, and subsidies for that property’s rent so seniors pay only 30 percent of their income. Eligibility requirements are:

  • Having one member of the family who is 62 years or older.
  • Meeting HUD’s income limits for very-low income, which is 50 percent or less of the area’s median income.
  • Passing a local housing authority’s resident screening, including references.
  • Applying to your local housing authority for specific programs available within your income bracket.
  • Submitting the address, name, gender and date of birth of everyone who will live in the residence.
  • Estimating income for the current year.

Types of Low-Income Senior Housing

“Low income” does not mean housing is located in a crime-ridden neighborhood. If the housing units or apartment communities are well-designed and managed properly, and are in safe and stable neighborhoods, then you or your loved one will be fine. For seniors, here are a few choices:

Retirement communities: These clusters of housing units for those 55 and older consist of single-family homes, duplexes, condominiums, mobile homes or townhouses. Some are rentals while others can be purchased. There is usually a monthly fee for maintenance and recreational activities.

Senior apartments: These communities are generally age-restricted. Rent includes recreational programs, transportation, low-cost housekeeping and meals in common dining rooms.

Subsidized senior housing: These units are available to low-income seniors and are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most of these have extremely long waiting lists.

What Are Your Senior Housing Questions?

Ask After55 is a monthly feature of After55.com by correspondent Mary Beth Adomaitis. Submit your questions for consideration in one of two ways:

– Comment below on this article. (Your question will be displayed publicly, so we suggest that you don’t include personally identifying information.)

– Fill out this form. (Your question will be sent to us privately. Note, however, that we aren’t able to answer all questions, especially on individual situations.) 

Previous Ask After55 questions:

Will Medicare Help Pay for Senior Housing?

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  • About Mary Beth Adomaitis:

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.

    Comments

    1. What annual amount is consider low income?

    2. Kathy Bartlett says:

      Hello my name is Kathy Bartlett. I am 57 and in December I’m be 58. I have a husband that is 47. Because I’m looking for a senior apartments, does this mean I can’t qualified for a senior apt. Because of my husband being only 47?

    3. Robert Wolfram says:

      Truthful and helpful information. Thanks for digging for us all!

    4. Theresa Whalen says:

      Im 55, and disabled. Im on a fixed income, im only recieving ssi $733 a month. Im trying to find a place i can call home and afford. How do i do this?

    5. I am retired with limited SS benefits. I need help either to pay rent or subsidise the housing in some other way.

    6. francisca delgado says:

      I would like to find a place for leaving I am 58 years old and I am on disability from the post office and also receive ssa.I leave in orlando fl and would like to find a place in Orlando or kissimmee fl.need help for all the things about housing authority.

    7. Same pat answers. You don’t go into how long it takes you to get into one of these programs or that you have to get on a waiting list. Then they want to put you in a little box for “living” with same old tired amenities.
      Treat us as if we are old and decrepit and not part of the community at large with still something to contribute.

    8. Did you do the research? None of these programs are actually available. No waiting lists, no nothing.

    9. MONA BECKER says:

      Is there a state wide list of all rentals that are available without a waiting list?

    10. aurora teixeira says:

      I have a voughter.for section 8 but cant find a place to rent I only qulify for 1000.00 plese help me

      • Were do you live Aurora? $1000.00 sec 8 voucher is a great thing to have. People wait years to have a voucher…surely if you research your area for low income housing something should come up. I know that there are ethical realtors that are willing to help as well.
        Are you a senior, single, married, have children? I would love to be able to help you along, but I need more information. Your income is another factor.

    11. I would love to get into a senior living myself . but I’ve have some bad credit that stops me . so I can’t pass their background checks .it’s stuff that happened because I could pay for after my late husband passed away. So tell me how I can’t get into a place without this I’ve always pay rent & utilityes on time. But I’m going broke paying all of them I need a place where ulitilies r paid . please help me . I live in blue springs mo . I want to get into manor heights in raytown mo

    12. My question is why in the world do the senior housing have to do a background check on seniors .I know like myself I’ve had problems in the past with credit . & most of it was caused by an ex husband or my late husband. It’s not like we killed anyone or other really bad crimes so come on give us a brake we really need it we don’t have family with whom we could live they don’t have room for us.

    13. Seranor T DeJesus says:

      My wife and I are considering moving to the Las Vegas area.Before we make that important decision,we would like to rent a furnished apt./condo for about 4 months to determine if we will like the Las Vegas area.We would prefer a senior community as we are both 70+years old.Can anyone help us or give us some apt./condo locations that we can check out.Also,we would like a quiet area.Your suggestions/recommendations are appreciated.This is a major decision for us so we would like to be very careful and thorough.Thank you again.

    14. Within the next year (if not sooner) I plan on leaving southern California and moving out of state. I am (55) years old, live alone and am employed. I am specifically seeking a (55) plus rental community in Nevada or in neighboring states.

      Since I haven’t moved in many years I am seeking someone or some organization that can assist me in locating housing and eventually employment. Would you happen to know of any individuals and/or organizations that can assist me on a personal one on one basis in this endeavor? Either a public and/or private organization. I would even be willing to pay a nominal fee if I could find a reputable person(s) who could work with me in this regard. Because of work and time restraints it is almost impossible to sift through all the material in locating a place to reside, especially out of state.

      Any & all help that you can render in this regard is greatly appreciated.

      Sincerely,

      Dan Rapaport

    15. Peggy Cusumano says:

      I am relocating back to Florida from Utah. I have tried unsuccessfully to apply to the 55plus communities in Seminole County area. I am just barely over the income restriction, but am not able to afford the high rent in most of the communities here. The ones with affordable rent are in high risk areas where safety is a concern for me as a 70 year old woman living alone. What am I to do? Would appreciate some input from you as to how to qualify for senior housing in this area. The more expensive complexes have a minimum amount well over what I make annually.

    16. I live in the Dallas, Texas area and there are a lot of beautiful, safe senior apartment communities. BUT, because my Social Security income is so low the ones that I qualify for have waiting lists of one to three years. They are even building a newer senior community that is still under construction. I rushed to contact them, but because my income is not twice the amount of the rent, I can’t even get into them. I have been searching for three months with no luck. I just keep getting on waiting lists. It is very discouraging when you just don’t make quite enough money.

    17. How does one find a listing of affordable Senior Housing in the Arizona/Nevada states? Arizona is quite expensive and doesn’t have enough rental properties for low income. Too many are for sale and not lease or rental. I for one don’t want the overhead of ownership at this part of my retirement.

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