Affordable Senior Housing Explained

Senior living costs can be expensive for elderly individuals living on fixed incomes.

While costs can vary by independent housing, assisted living, nursing homes and home care, many low-income seniors are worried that they will not be able to afford housing on Social Security alone.

According to the Insured Retirement Institute, baby boomers are already experiencing financial stress and are prolonging their retirement because they feel they will not have enough to live comfortably.

Additionally, there are seniors who cannot continue to work and must consider special living arrangements due to their health.

If you are looking for low income senior housing for yourself or a loved one, you do not have to live in fear.

There are numerous options available through the government and public market, including Section 8. These programs are either supported or subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

While some are more ideal for seniors living independently, others provide cooking, cleaning and transportation assistance for those who need more help. Review the sections below to learn more about senior living options and HUD senior housing. 

Types of Senior Living Options

There are a variety of senior living options available for independent seniors and elderly people who need around-the-clock care.

Once you develop an understanding of the types of senior housing available, you will be able to make a well-informed and confident decision regarding your quality of life or that of a loved one.

  • Independent living communities: This option is best suited for seniors seeking community. They typically offer meal packages, weekly housekeeping, transportation and social outings. 
  • Assisted Living Facility (ALF): This type of housing is available to seniors who need daily assistance with personal care. Residents will have access to caregivers at all times.
  • Senior Apartments: Active seniors who are able can live a low-maintenance lifestyle in a senior apartment. While this option does not typically include personal care assistance, seniors can enjoy amenities like swimming pools and fitness centers while being around others their own age.
  • Memory Care: This senior housing is tailored to seniors with cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Trained staff offer specialized memory care services and administer proper medication.
  • Nursing Homes: This option is available to seniors who need around-the-clock care by skilled nurses. These seniors typically live in shared bedrooms and can participate in activities and dining in centralized areas. 
  • Residential Care Homes: Seniors who prefer a private living environment can enjoy this option with live-in sitters who provide assisted living, such as cooking and dressing.
  • Home care: Seniors can receive daily living assistance in the comfort of their own homes by paying for hourly home care. 

While independent senior living communities are generally cheaper, housing options that provide assistance with personal care are typically more expensive and can cost up to $8,000 per month.

Fortunately, with the help of programs funded by HUD, low-income seniors can receive rent assistance and daily assistive services.

Discover HUD Homes for Low-income Seniors

There are several HUD senior housing programs that provide financial assistance to low-income seniors who cannot afford housing.

Choosing the right fit for you or your loved one will depend on the level of care and lifestyle you need. While there are more HUD options for independent seniors, those in need of assisted living have limited options.

This means seniors may need to consider home care costs if they choose a housing option that does not already offer this assistance.

Find Out About the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a program that offers tax incentives to property developers and investors for creating affordable rental housing communities, such as senior living for low-income individuals.

Many of these apartment buildings offer age-restricted units to renters 55 or 62 years of age and older. These senior apartments typically have senior-friendly features and amenities, as well as medical and personal care at an additional cost.

To find affordable senior housing under the LIHTC, retires must assess the current housing market and search for apartments targeted toward seniors.

When searching through listings online, seniors must filter their searches at prices they can afford in order to find participating senior living communities.

Discover Public Housing

Elderly individuals can find affordable senior apartments through public housing.

Public housing agencies (PHAs) are funded by the HUD to provide rental housing for families, seniors and disabled individuals with low incomes. Seniors can find housing from high rises to duplex apartments.

To meet eligibility requirements, seniors must have a fixed income of less than 80 percent of their local median income. This HUD senior living option is best for elderly people who need limited to no assistance with daily living activities.

Seniors who would like to apply must contact their local PHAs and provide proof of income in the form of bank statements, Social Security award letters and tax returns.

Finding an apartment through public housing as a senior is easy, as individuals who are elderly or disabled tend to be favored.

Learn About Senior Housing Voucher

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) is a federally funded program that provides rent assistance or rent vouchers to low-income individuals, including the elderly and disabled, for housing in the private market.

This option is ideal for independent senior citizens who do not need the thorough care that assisted living provides. Seniors can choose from apartments, townhomes and single-family homes.

To qualify, they must have a total gross income that is 50 percent below their area’s median income. They are required to pay 30 percent of their monthly adjusted income toward their rent. 

Seniors can complete the application process for Section 8 senior housing at their local PHAs by providing determinant information, such as assets and medical expenses.

Additionally, some agencies offer homeownership vouchers to assist first-time senior homeowners with their monthly mortgages and other expenses. Seniors are not required to be employed to receive these vouchers.

Older individuals approaching retirement are suggested to apply for Section 8 housing years in advance, as there are extensive waiting lists. 

Discover Supporting Housing for the Elderly 

Senior citizens can receive rent-assisted housing and supportive services through Section 8 housing programs, such as Section 202.

This program offers assisted housing for the elderly and disabled while allowing them to live as independently as possible. This program is suitable for seniors who need some aid with daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing.

These seniors will also receive home-delivered meals and have access to transportation and housekeeping services. Section 202 typically offers HUD homes with one-bedroom and senior-friendly features, such as grab bars and ramps.

Seniors must be at least 62 years of age and have a household income below 50 percent of their area’s median to qualify for this type of senior living.

To apply, seniors must contact the living community they are in interested in to be put on a Section 8 waiting list, typically lasting a year.