In The Economic Downturn Many Seniors Struggle To Maintain Their Homes Some Turn To Nonprofits That Can Lend A Helping Hand
by Jennifer Delson, AARP VIVA, October 2009
The thousand or so dolls in Anne and Albert Gonzaless house never change expression: their cheeks stay rosy, their smiles never fade. And as maintenance problems recently mounted in their house, Anne Gonzales tried to match her dolls demeanor. But she couldnt. The challenges of keeping up the homethough less than 1,000 square feetweighed too heavily on her. I really felt at a loss to know what to do, says the 65-year-old from Santa Ana, California.
Housing experts say shes like thousands of older low-income seniors who own their homes but are having difficulty maintaining them. They cant do the work themselves, cant afford to hire contractors, and cantwith falling housing pricessell and move. Fortunately, some groups are stepping in to lend a helping hand.
The bottom line is that older people are caught in the middle. They have this great asset but they dont have any liquidity, says Greg Secord, director of special projects and Safe at Home for Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that provides seniors with housing assistance. Deferring maintenance to pay for food and medicine, while necessary, can become a negative spiral, he says, with the homes value going down as its condition deteriorates.
When the volunteers came, I really felt blessed, Gonzales says. They really helped out a lot.
My whole life was worry. Now I dont need to worry all the time, she says. What they did was give me a new life.
How Does The Housing Choice Voucher Program Work
- First step: The older person applies for a rental voucher. If approved, the voucher is issued.
- Second step: From the private rental market, the individual selects an apartment that meets their needs.
- Step Three: Before leasing a unit, the local housing office inspects it to ensure it meets the Department of Housings quality standards.
- Step Four: Once the apartment passes inspection, the housing office signs an agreement with the community owner, who rents the apartment to the older individual.
- Fifth step: The housing office pays part of the beneficiarys rent, while the beneficiary is responsible for the rest.
A person seeking Section 8 assistance is not allowed to earn more than fifty percent of the median income in the area. The Department of Housing website provides more information on income limits for specific areas.
Identify And Complain About Housing Discrimination
Housing discrimination happens when a housing provider gets in the way of a person renting or buying housing because of their
A housing provider that discriminates against someone could be a landlord or a real estate management company. It could also be a lending institution like a bank or other organization that aids in the homebuying process.
Housing discrimination is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Discrimination covered by the Act can take many forms beyond just raising prices or lying about availability. For example, the Act addresses wheelchair access in some newer properties. Learn what the Fair Housing Act covers, how to complain, and how the investigation process works.
You May Like: Best Tablet For Seniors 2021
The Average Cost Of Senior Living
So, more than half of your income should come from another source. The remainder is covered by HUD or through a federal housing assistance program. Seniors can get subsidized housing and other benefits as well.
The median household income in the United States is right around $53,000 per year. Your income should be less than 50% of that amount to qualify for low income housing. Seniors can qualify for housing that costs 30% of their adjusted income and the Federal government will pay for the rest through a rent assistance program.
How To Get Apartments For Seniors Based On Income 2022
If you are looking for apartments for seniors based on income, be sure to do your research. There are several websites available that contain a list of all the senior apartments in your area. You can do some comparison shopping by visiting each listing and seeing what you like best, or you can shop around to see if there are any properties you can afford.
Finding affordable housing for seniors can be a challenge. But there are programs available to help those who qualify based on income. One of these programs is from the Department of Housing and Urban Development . These programs are privately funded and are run by non-profit organizations, as well as public agencies.
Finding a housing solution is a challenge for seniors aged 55 to 65. Just like others, your parents may have lower income and be able to afford only the cheapest apartment. The good news is that there are programs that give priority to low-income families and help them find affordable apartments.
There are housing assistance programs for seniors, like the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and rental vouchers in some States. Nonprofit groups can help by providing a directory of programs, or even assisting in completing an application.
Senior living communities often have special programs or discounts that can help make it easier to live there. Some seniors are eligible for subsidized rates and even federal housing assistance.
Recommended Reading: Always Best Senior Care Services
Low Income Apartment For Senior Citizens
Some of the apartments in this section are Section 8 subsidized housing, and some are housing where tenants are screened and income is considered, but the rents are market rates.
After the growing popularity of assisted living and senior apartments, low-cost senior housing is becoming more popular than ever. With steadily increasing rents and home prices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for seniors on fixed or limited incomes to remain in their homes or apartments. However, low-cost senior housing is working hard to provide affordable housing for those over 65 who need it most.
University Of Portland Program Provided Services
On a cool December morning, University of Portland nursing students Olivia Spitzer and Venetia Prontzos conducted their weekly blood pressure checks for residents at the Vancouver Housing Authoritys Columbia House, a low-income senior apartment complex.
As residents filtered in, Spitzer and Prontzos both wondered: Wheres Billy?
Columbia House resident Billy Davidson normally shows up every Thursday at 9 a.m. on the dot. But as the clock ticked past 10, he still hadnt arrived. Finally, he walked into the ninth-floor community room and announced, I wasnt here at 9 because I had to go pay the rent.
The students greeted him warmly as he sat down for his blood pressure check, an important task for the 78-year-old man. All males on my side of the family, they all passed away with high blood pressure, Davidson said. They died of the first stroke they had.
Prontzos took his blood pressure. All was good. But Davidsons precautions speak to the necessity of offering health services in low-income and senior housing complexes services that help keep some of the countys most vulnerable residents safely in their homes.
Stephanie Finch, the housing authoritys aging and disabled service coordinator, noted there are several barriers Columbia House residents face when it comes to accessing medical care.
You May Like: Is The Flex Card For Seniors Legit
What Are Budgeting Ideas For Seniors On A Fixed Income
When you know exactly how much money you have as a senior with a fixed income, it can be easier to set a budget. At the same time, a fixed income may not be enough to cover the necessary expenses. To see where you are with your fixed income as an older adult, start by writing down your mandatory expenses. These include:
The content, including without limitation any viewpoint or opinion in any profile, article or video, contained on this website is for informational purposes only. Any third party contributor to any such profile, article or video has been compensated by SeniorLiving.org for such contribution. It is advised that you conduct your own investigation as to the accuracy of any information contained herein as such information, including without limitation any medical advice, is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. Further, SeniorLiving.org shall not be liable for any informational error or for any action taken in reliance on information contained herein.
How To Apply For A Housing Choice Voucher
- To apply for a Housing Choice voucher, contact a public housing agency in your state. If you need more assistance, contact your local HUD office.
- You will need to fill out a written application or have a representative of your local PHA help you.
- The PHA representative will collect information on your family size, income, and assets.
- The PHA will check this information with other local agencies, your employer, and your bank. This helps them decide if you qualify and how much assistance you’ll get.
- The amount of assistance you may get is adjusted so you can afford a moderately-priced rental in your area.
- The housing you choose must meet health and safety standards before the PHA can approve the unit.
- After you’ve been approved for a voucher and found a place to rent, the PHA will inspect the rental before you sign your lease. These inspections are performed so the PHA can be sure the property is worth the rental price.
Read Also: Rides To Doctors For Seniors
Section 202 Supportive Housing For The Elderly Program
Supportive housing programs, funded by HUD, are also available to seniors aged 62 and older who meet the very low income criteria. Seniors are the only group eligible for government subsidies, and its the only program that offers affordable housing exclusively for them.
It is estimated that more than a quarter million senior living units are funded through Section 202 at present. There is a lot of similarity between Section 202 and Section 8 in terms of their structure. The HUD subsidy makes up the difference between 30% and 60% of the participants income.
Paying For Senior Apartments
Once you choose an apartment, it is time to finance your housing solution. For older adults who have retirement savings set aside, this is the optimal way to pay for senior apartments. For low-income seniors, there are HUD-sponsored apartments that offer more affordable monthly rent based on ones income.
If you are prepared to pay out-of-pocket for a senior apartment, you might want to consider all of your resource options. Many seniors choose to sell an existing home or take out a reverse mortgage in order to finance senior living in an apartment. If this is an option, it will most likely cover the bulk of the living expenses. Other options include using dividends from investment income or cashing in a life insurance policy to help cover these housing expenses.
If you qualify as a low-income senior looking for an apartment, youll want to get your application into the HUD-sponsored apartments near you as soon as possible. As noted, there is a low-income housing waitlist in most cities, and time is of the essence in finding a place to live for older adults that is safe and secure. Also, submit your application to multiple HUD-sponsored apartments to increase the chances that your name is picked for an apartment.
Don’t Miss: Tracfone For Seniors Best Buy
How To Find Low Income Senior Apartments
It can be difficult to find senior housing options that are inexpensive. However, there are apartments available specifically for those in retirement with a low income. To find the right one, you’ll want to carry out detailed research and know how to spot red flags. Follow these guidelines to find low income senior apartments that fit your budget and living preferences.
Find and Pay for Low Income Senior Housing
There are a number of government programs that help individuals who qualify to locate and pay for housing:
— Housing Choice Vouchers: This program allows you to find the housing you want. The government provides the amount allowed by your voucher to the landlord each month.
— Public Housing: These communities are generally apartment buildings or complexes that are overseen by a city or county public housing agency.
— Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: This program provides housing to low income families and includes rents that don’t exceed a fixed amount.
— Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly: This initiative helps seniors and the disabled. It offers housing for individuals who are able to live mostly on their own but need assistance with certain daily tasks like cleaning and cooking.
Affordable Senior Housing Search Tips
Senior Housing Location Criteria
Set Your Housing Priorities
Know the Warning Signs
More From US News & World Report
Programming For Elderly And Persons With Disabilities
IHCDA is proud to administer a variety of programs that provide housing opportunities, promote self-sufficiency, and strengthen Indiana communities. Almost all of these programs have an impact on improving the quality of life for vulnerable populations in our state, including the elderly and persons with disabilities. For the purpose of this summary, persons with disabilities include individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities, as well as those with mental illness and addiction. Below is a summary of a few of the key programs and initiatives that serve these target populations.
Also Check: Affordable Senior Housing In Florida
Low Income For Seniors Citizens Apartments And Housing Programs
United States households earn an average income of $53,000 per year. You must have an income below 50% of that amount in order to qualify for low income for seniors citizens apartments. The rent assistance program can pay for up to 30% of the cost of seniors housing, and the rest is paid by the federal government.
Various programs offer free or low-cost housing options to seniors with little to no means of income. The following are some of the best options seniors can avail to keep a roof over their heads:
This program provides loans to very low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes or to remove health and safety hazards from their homes. You must meet the following requirements to qualify for the Section 504 program:
- Be the owner and occupant of the property
- Have difficulty obtaining credit elsewhere
- Income limits vary by county but should not exceed the very low limit
- Must be 62 years of age or older and unable to repay a loan for repairs
$10,000 in grants and $40,000 in loans are the maximum amounts. A maximum of $50,000 can be obtained through a combination of loans and grants.
A 1% interest rate is fixed on the loans for 20 years. A Section 504 loan with an outstanding balance of over $25,000 requires full title service. In the event that the property is sold within three years, the grant must be repaid. Applicants may be offered a loan and grant combination if they are able to repay part of the costs but not all.
Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
A number of LITC properties are designated for low-income seniors. In addition to being owned and administered by both for profit and non-profit organizations, this tax credit program is supervised by the Internal Revenue Service .
As reported by the Department of Housing, which created the LIHTC, more than 107,000 units were put into service each year between 1995 and 2017 Read here
Don’t Miss: Senior Business Analyst Job Description
How To Get Apartments For Seniors Based On Income
HUD has strict income requirements for its Section 8 housing programs. Most apartments are only eligible for these programs if the tenant earns less than 50% of the median income in their area however, this can still be hard to meet for some senior citizens on a fixed budget. Senior citizens who receive Social Security benefits may be eligible to have those benefits count toward their income limit.
One of these programs is Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, which uses median family income limits to determine how much rent a senior can afford.
The Senior Citizen Home Ownership Opportunity Program, also referred to as the Section 202 Direct Loan Program, enables low-income, elderly households to purchase or construct homes. The program offers down payment and closing cost assistance to qualified buyers if they meet all other program requirements.
The senior housing subsidy program is a nationwide program designed to help low-income seniors afford their rent, utilities, and other housing essentials. The government pays a portion of the rent in order to make it more affordable for beneficiaries to remain in their homes. The senior housing subsidy program is flexible and allows seniors to choose where they want to live, be it an independent living facility or assisted living center.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage
HECM is a reverse mortgage program that was created and has been sponsored by the federal authorities for seniors who are having difficulties paying their mortgages. This program allows older people to convert the equity in their house into money. The amount of the cash that they will borrow will be determined according to the appraised value of the house. People who are 62 years old and older are prioritized by this program. The link to their official website is as follows or call 1 800 569 4287.
You May Like: Knee Strengthening Exercises For Seniors
Usda Rural Apartment For Seniors Based On Income
Now again seniors can be helped based on their income with the help of the USDA program. The rural areas have for senior citizens more than 15,000 apartments. Under section 515 of the multi-family housing program, the senior citizens can live there peacefully will all the facilities.
In 50 states of the USA, these apartments are available in the rural areas. For getting admission into this, the senior citizens will have to connect with the USDA local office authority.
How To Choose A 55 And Older Senior Apartment
A home is still a home, regardless of the type. You must find one that you like, that meets your needs, that is located close to you, and that you can afford. There are some questions you can ask when looking for senior apartments near you:
- What is available?
- Are there senior apartments near me?
- Are you sure you want a senior apartment, or are you looking for assisted living nearby?
- What is the cost?
- What is included in that cost or what services are available to add to meet your needs?
- Will that work for you?
- Is the location convenient? Is it close to things that you need? Low crime?
- Are there like people nearby is the apartment part of a large senior community?
- Is it a good environment that you will enjoy?
- Is it safe? Is it well kept with low risks of injury and properly equipped for senior citizens?
- Would you be paying for services that arent needed?
Read Also: Senior Living Grand Junction Co