There are many programs available to help low-income individuals pay for their rent and utilities, but these programs may be oversaturated and have very long wait lists.
Unfortunately, many senior citizens aren’t as prepared as they would like for when their times comes to retire, so, when the time does come, they may need help and may not have the means to wait so long to reach the top of the waiting list.
For this reason, other programs have been created to specifically target low-income seniors and provide them with the help they need. Finding the right option for you or your loved one is important and can sometimes be challenging, so hopefully this article helps you on this journey!
What is Considered Low-income for a Senior?
The federal government defines low-income for seniors as a person that is 60 years old or more, with an income of less than $30,000 a year. This would be approximately $2,450 a month.
Keep in mind that this is the federal government’s definition of a low-income senior, but each program has their own criteria and guidelines, so be sure to verify the income limit and age requirements of the program you are interested in.
Housing Programs for Seniors
- Section 202 Program – This program was created specifically for low income senior citizens, 62 years old and over who want to maintain their independency. Most facilities include features such as handrails and ramps and offer services such as transportation, meal delivery and housekeeping.
- Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) – This program encourages the construction and restoration of low-income housing with federal tax credit. Many of these properties have been constructed specifically for seniors, so it’s a good idea to give them a look as well.
- Virtual Retirement Communities – Virtual retirement communities are a wonderful option for low-income seniors to remain in their own home, while receiving low-cost access to services such as transportation, housekeeping and social outings. Membership can be as low as $100 a month, but be careful because there are some virtual retirement communities that can be a bit expensive.
Alternative Housing Options for Seniors
If you’re not interested or do not qualify for the options above, there are other programs that, although not specifically targeted for seniors, may be of help to you. Programs such as:
- Section 8 – Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, Section 8 provides very low-income individuals and families housing vouchers for affordable housing in privately owned properties and, in some cases, utilities as well.
- Public Housing – Public Housing communities are usually composed of high-rise buildings that are run by the city or county’s Public Housing Agency, for low-income people in need.
- Section 811 – Also known as the Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, Section 811 was created to provide disabled, low-income people with affordable housing.
How do Seniors Find Affordable Housing?
Unfortunately, Social Security sometimes isn’t enough for seniors to live comfortably, but finding affordable, low-income housing can definitely ease the financial burden a bit.
There are a few ways to find affordable housing for seniors, such as:
- Online search – Go online and search realty websites like Zillow and ForRent. Type in keywords such as “low-income” or “senior housing”
- Contact the HUD or PHA – The Department of Urban Development and Public Housing Authority offices usually have lists of properties that are available and even some that are specifically for seniors.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in a Senior Home?
The cost of private senior retirement homes or private at-home care can be frighteningly expensive, and unfortunately, many seniors can’t afford private care when the time comes that they need it.
Private senior retirement homes can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $8,000 a month and may have additional monthly fees if you require extra help.
Private rooms are more expensive, while semi-private rooms, although still expensive, are a little less so. As of now, Alaska and Washington DC have the highest costs of senior care at private retirement facilities.
Private at-home care can be just as expensive, if not more. Private at-home caregivers are usually registered nurses, that are capable of administering medication and monitoring vitals.
Registered nurses usually charge between $200 -$400 a day for at-home patient care, which can be impossible for many seniors to pay, especially if they need care 24/7.
Low-income housing costs are adjusted to your and the people in your household’s income, creating a bit more financial freedom by lowering your expenses. Some programs even help cover some of your utility bills, making it a great option for low-income seniors in need.