Finding a great place to live at an affordable price is harder than it’s ever been. But, what can be a headache for the average working American is a real crisis for a growing number of seniors. Living on a fixed-income is hard enough without the availability and affordability concerns impacting the housing market at large.
There is help out there. The Federal Government has a wealth of knowledge, resources, and support programs designed to help seniors find affordable housing all over the country. It’s far from a perfect situation, but with enough patience and persistence, low-income seniors can find affordable housing.
Today, we’ll explore some of the housing options available to low-income American seniors, expand on a few federally-funded housing programs, and share a few ways to simplify your search.
Make a Plan
Reading online breakdowns is a great way to start your housing search, but you won’t get anywhere without a plan. Pull together the documents you need, gather important contact details, and create a check-list of actionable steps that’ll help give your search some direction.
You’ll want to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of your needs and wants too. Budgets, location preferences, and disability requirements are essential factors in finding long-term housing, so leave no stone unturned.
A good plan should leave you feeling confident in your direction and provide you with a clear path forward. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or seek professional support and advice in your search. And, as much as you may like to plan, know that flexibility can be a real asset.
A great place to start your affordable housing search is Eldercare Locator. The service has been helping seniors and their caregivers connect to local resources since 1991. It’s your gateway to local meal service providers, transportation services, and caregivers and more.1
Using Eldercare Locator is as simple as punching in your zip code or selecting your home state. Search the site’s extensive eldercare database in seconds, and find a comprehensive list of helpful service providers and their contact information, in seconds.
Section 202 Supportive Housing
The Section 202 program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and designed to expand the availability of affordable housing. More specifically, it serves the affordable housing sector that offers supportive services for elderly Americans.2
The program accomplishes this goal a few different ways. It funds the development of supportive housing directly, and provides rental assistance funds to help offset operation costs. The result is a larger supply of federally subsidized supportive housing for low-income seniors.
Any very low-income American that is 62-years of age or older can apply for Section 202 accommodations. To learn more, visit the HUD’s website or speak to a representative from your local public housing office.
Housing Choice Vouchers
Local public housing agencies distribute federal funds to low-income Americans with housing choice vouchers.3 These housing vouchers set up an arrangement in which the landlord is paid by the public housing agency directly on the behalf of the family living in the home.
The program lets families choose their own accommodations, providing that the landlord agrees to participate in the program. US citizens can apply for housing choice vouchers at their local public housing authority. To qualify, applicants must have a household income of less than 50% of the region’s median.
Long wait times and tedious paperwork are par for the course, sadly. But that’s not to say that there isn’t anything you can do to help speed up your affordable housing search. There are a lot of things you can do today to help your chances tomorrow.
Be flexible. The more specific your needs, the harder it is to find a fit. So be flexible on where you want to live, or consider moving to a place with more availability.
Seek help. Two, three, and four hands are better than one. Enlist the help of anyone you can to help expand your reach.
Get to know your local housing authority. As you can probably tell from the options mentioned above, most government housing resources flow through your local housing authority. Find your local office and make a habit of reaching out to ask questions and seek guidance
No one said finding affordable housing was easy, but it’s far from impossible. The right plan, a persistent attitude, and a bit of flexibility can help you land a home somewhere safe, clean, and cost effective. Low-income seniors aren’t without options. So keep searching online, and working the phones until you find the right home for you or the senior in your life.