The availability of low-income housing options for seniors is critical. Seniors often deal with a significant decrease in budget and income as they begin living off of retirement plans and savings or start to draw social security.
Because of the aforementioned budget decrease experienced, housing payments can be seen consuming an average of 30% or more of their incomes, which leaves little room for other living expenses due to the lower financial starting point.
Fortunately, there are options for making housing more affordable for seniors. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
With this federally funded program, qualified applicants will be given vouchers by their local PHA (Public Housing Authority) office that can be used to secure a home within the private housing sector. The voucher will account for the landlord of the property being paid a portion of the rent by the PHA, and the renter will pay the remainder.
This program is not specific to just the senior community and often has waiting lists for approval; however, seniors are often placed at the top of the list due to needs being considered more urgent.
Medicaid Assisted Living
Medicaid is a federally funded health insurance program that is individually run and maintained by states. This insurance is only available to low-income individuals and their families, with seniors often being eligible while living on a fixed income.
The availability of Medicaid to the senior population can be crucial because some require medical support, such as an assisted living facility. Basic assisted living accommodations can range from $1,800 to $2,400 per month, which adds up to almost $30,000 per year. This cost can often be more than the combined yearly income of a senior individual. Fortunately, Medicaid can cover qualified assisted living facility costs in full for qualified beneficiaries.
Section 202 Housing
This program is offered by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) strictly for the low-income senior community.
Housing available for those approved provides accommodations such as house cleaning, transportation, meals, and physical handicap assistance.
Section 811 Program
The Section 811 program is offered to low-income applicants that have disabilities. HUD’s objective in providing this housing is to allow residents with disabilities to carry on independently while still having access to any support services required.
Adult Family Homes
For those seniors that do not require much medical support, and plan on living away from their families, moving into an adult family home can be a good solution.
With adult family homes, multiple seniors will live together within a residential home. The home is licensed and must adhere to guidelines set by the Department of Family Services. Residents will also have convenient access to meals, activities, and other needs.
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)
This program is run by the IRS and is mainly geared towards providing tax credits to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to assist in providing affordable housing to lower-income seniors.
The communities available are often built with convenient amenities and access to care for senior residents. The rental amounts can be discounted for residents as the landlords or organization that owns the property will receive tax credits from the IRS to make up the difference.
Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP)
CHSP is a HUD program that can provide grants to eligible properties and subsidized housing to provide services to low-income senior residents. These services include providing at least one hot meal per day, often delivered, transportation, and non-medical assistance to residents.
The CHSP program essentially fills in a gap for services related to housing and daily living that aren’t always included in chosen or available housing options.