While searching for affordable senior housing opportunities may seem like a harrowing experience, several resources may be available to you. As a senior citizen, you may have a limited income and, with the rising cost of housing, may not know where to turn. Fortunately, there are several federal and local opportunities that you may be able to benefit from to retain safe and decent housing.
First, it is essential to consider what low income senior housing means to you. Are you searching for a new and affordable apartment? Would you prefer to continue to live within your current home?
You can find affordable housing opportunities by utilizing elderly services, including Eldercare and free housing counselor services. Depending on your income and other factors, you may also qualify for rent assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Finally, if you currently own your home, it is worth taking the time to learn more about how a reverse mortgage could benefit you. A reverse mortgage could potentially provide you with additional income to help you remain in your home.
1. How to Get Help Finding Low-Income Senior Housing Opportunities
You can get assistance finding affordable senior citizen housing within your community by speaking with a housing counselor. Counselors offer several different services and can provide benefits such as:
- Assistance in locating a rental property to fit your budget.
- Budget and finance-related advice.
- Referrals to local, state and federal programs that you may qualify for.
Most housing counselors approved by HUD are from non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income senior citizens for free. You can find an approved counselor in your community online or call (800) 569-4287 to get connected to your local housing counseling agency.
2. How Eldercare Can Connect You with Local Resources and Programs for Seniors
If searching for affordable senior housing or struggling to pay your current housing costs, you may benefit from Eldercare. Eldercare is a public service that is provided by the United States Administration on Aging.
Eldercare works to connect senior citizens with local resources related to:
- Support services.
- Legal services.
- Insurance and benefits.
An Eldercare information specialist can help you find senior housing within your community that fits your budget. Additionally, you may be referred to local, state and federal programs that you may qualify for. These programs may be able to assist you with housing costs, repair expenses, affordable housing opportunities and more.
You can contact an Eldercare specialist online or by calling (800) 677-1116. Additionally, the Eldercare Locator is a powerful tool that allows you to search for resources within your community by zip code.
3. How to Obtain Affordable Housing Through Subsidized Senior Housing
HUD senior housing programs assist elderly citizens in finding affordable, subsidized housing. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees two programs that provide housing assistance to low-income seniors.
Section 8 offers affordable senior housing by providing financial assistance directly to participating landlords. In doing so, the rental requirements for benefiting senior is reduced to the difference between the rental cost and HUD payment. For example, if rental fees usually are $700 each month and the HUD provides $300 of monthly financial assistance, the senior would only be expected to pay $400 each month.
Another HUD subsidized senior housing program that you may qualify for is the Public Housing Program. While similar to Section 8, the Public Housing Program provides qualifying seniors with state-owned housing unit at a rental cost that is below average costs within an area.
To qualify for a HUD senior housing opportunity, you must meet eligibility requirements related to your:
- Annual gross income.
- United States citizenship or immigration status.
- Rental history and other local factors.
While both HUD programs have income guidelines that must be met to receive benefits, these guidelines are based upon the median income of a community. Furthermore, the Public Housing Program allows for greater levels of income compared to Section 8.
You can apply for housing assistance by contacting your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). When applying, you may need to provide additional documentation for the PHA to determine your eligibility. The most commonly requested documentation is proof of income, but other documents may be required.
If approved for senior housing assistance, you will be placed on a waiting list, unless the PHA can support you immediately. However, many communities have local preferences that may be able to help you receive benefits sooner.
4. Consider a Reverse Mortgage to Remain in Your Home
If you are searching for senior housing opportunities because you can no longer afford your home, additional options may be available. A reverse mortgage program may be able to provide you with subsidiary income, cash needed for home repairs or renovations or eliminate your monthly mortgage payments.
Reverse mortgages use equity within a home as collateral. However, payments for the loan are not typically required so long as borrowers continue living within the house and meet all loan obligations. In the event of inheritance, the borrower’s heir or estate can choose to either repay the reverse mortgage and retain ownership of the home or put the house up for sale to cover the balance of the reverse mortgage. Any remaining equity would then be passed onto the heir or estate.
You may qualify for a reverse mortgage to help with your senior housing costs through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) if you:
- Are at least 62 years of age.
- Are willing to pay off any existing mortgage on the home with proceeds from the reverse mortgage, if applicable.
- Have a history of paying your property taxes and home insurance and are willing to continue to do so.
- Are willing to maintain your home as your primary residence.
- Are willing to maintain your home according to FHA guidelines.
Depending on the type of loan you receive, you may be able to obtain reverse mortgage funds as:
- A line of credit that you can draw on as needed.
- A lump sum amount.
- Monthly payments throughout the life of the loan.
- Monthly payments for a specified amount of time.