Paying for housing can feel impossible for a senior who is trying to live on a modest, fixed income.
If this sounds like your situation, you’re not alone, as the National Council on Aging estimates that over 25 million people aged 60 or older were “economically insecure.” This status reflects those living on less than $31,225 in annual income.
While increasing your income may be difficult as a senior, getting rental assistance to make your situation more manageable can help.
Here are two popular forms of rental assistance the government has created to help seniors with housing.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
You’ve probably heard of the Section 8 program before, and while it’s now formally referred to as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, it still offers housing assistance to those in need, including seniors.
Getting a Housing Choice Voucher is ideal for a senior who still wants to live independently in their own home. It does not limit them to a single-family home, either, as they can use their voucher towards rent in an apartment or townhome as well, as long as it meets the HUD’s requirements.
To be eligible for Section 8, you’ll need to:
- Be over 18.
- Be a U.S. citizen or possess eligible immigration status.
- Have an income that doesn’t exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area you want to live in.
- Pass a background check.
Although those requirements may differ according to location, they’re standard and give you an idea of what’s needed to qualify for Section 8.
If you qualify, you will have to pay 30 percent of your income towards the rent. The HUD will pay the rest directly to your landlord.
Section 8 is an excellent option for seniors seeking rental assistance, but its downside is demand. Some who qualify may sit on a waitlist for years before receiving a voucher.
To apply for a Housing Choice Voucher, go here to contact your local Public Housing Agency.
The Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program (Section 202)
As mentioned, Section 8 is geared more towards the senior who wants to live on their own. Section 202, on the other hand, is a better fit for someone seeking assisted living.
Like Section 8, Section 202 is run by the HUD. To provide assisted living for seniors, this rental and housing assistance program offers the following, depending on location:
- Housing specifically equipped for seniors with ramps, grab rails, and wheelchair-accessible features.
- Social spaces where seniors can interact with others, plus daily activities.
- Assistance with medications, meals, bathing, and more.
- Transportation services.
- On-site care coordinators.
A senior who qualifies for Section 202 housing can gain significant rental assistance. As with Section 8, they will be expected to pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. The HUD will pick up the rest of the tab.
To see if you qualify for this senior rental assistance program, visit a Section 202 housing unit in person or contact your local Public Housing Agency.