Affordable living options for seniors are available from federal housing programs, including the Section 8 program. Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, or HCVP, this rental assistance program helps low-income, elderly and disabled individuals find safe, sanitary and affordable housing. It is operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.
As a low income senior housing program, Section 8 helps millions of seniors find rental units that work with their limited incomes. Program participants who qualify for Section 8 receive housing vouchers they can use to lower their rental costs on houses, apartments and other types of units.
Section 8 does not pay for all of a tenant’s rental costs; tenants are generally responsible for roughly 30% of their rent. Section 8 pays up to 70% of the rental costs.
Section 8 is not a senior housing program specifically; low-income families and certain disabled individual can also qualify for the program. However, seniors make up one of the largest categories of Section 8-eligible individuals.
To qualify for senior housing through the Section 8 program, you must be considered low income and meet the income limits in your area. Generally, your household income cannot exceed 50% of the median income in your area.
If you qualify, you may choose to live in a senior housing facility that is approved for Section 8 participants instead of a traditional rental unit. These types of facilities are occupied for seniors who need help with day-to-day tasks in order to live independently.
Keep in mind that Section 8 senior housing facilities may have age limits. For example, one facility may only accept residents ages 62 or older, while another may house residents ages 55 or older.
If you do not wish to live in a housing facility, you can use the housing vouchers to find an affordable unit of your choice. The unit must be approved for Section 8 use.
Section 8 is operated by individual public housing authorities (PHAs). To apply for low income senior housing through this program, you must find your local PHA. Depending on the demand for housing in your area, you may be placed on a waiting list until a unit becomes available.
Most PHAs have preferences for certain groups of candidates, including seniors. Preferences allow applicants to jump to the top of the waiting list and receiving housing more quickly. Disabled seniors often receive even higher priority due to their added complex housing needs.