Being a senior or retiring is no easy task. Seniors have no steady income stream and often depend on their loved ones or government assistance to make ends meet. Often, seniors have to find part-time jobs to keep a roof over their heads because savings alone are not enough to pay rent or afford a mortgage.
Nearly all the elderly in the United States rely on monthly social security support to keep them afloat. For seniors on social security, the cost of housing is, in nearly all cases, the single largest recurring expense they have to pay each month.
With the increasing average lifespan over the past few decades, American seniors now tend to live longer than the people before them. On top of that, the average cost of housing is rising rapidly.
With these demographic changes in the American population, seniors who rely on savings, pensions, and social security often cannot meet housing expenses. If you are struggling financially, check out our article on sources of free government money for seniors.
Housing For Seniors – Some Statistics
The following numbers shed some light on the housing situation of low-income seniors.
- According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median rent in the United States in 2021 was $1,037. This amount indicated a 9.35% increase from the median rent from the past two years, which stood at $941 in 2019.
- More than 56 million seniors over 65 reside in the United States, accounting for 16.9% of the total US population.
- By 2030, with the remaining baby boomers have reached retirement age, this number is expected to reach 73.1 million seniors.
- According to the National Council on Aging, over 11 million seniors in the US rely on Social Security as their primary source of income.
If you are a senior and cannot afford healthcare expenses, read our article on free medical supplies for senior citizens.
To help seniors with their housing problems and make housing affordable, the federal and state governments offer many initiatives designed to cater to the housing needs of seniors who are on a limited income, have no savings, and receive social security. Many subsidized housing programs assist low-income seniors with getting adequate housing.
But these programs are overcrowded, and often, there are long waiting lists, so if you are a senior looking for housing assistance, you’ll need to act fast. Most of these programs fall under the purview of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The following programs offer subsidized and affordable housing for seniors on social security near me.
HUD Section 202
Section 202, a program that provides supportive housing for the elderly, was established under the Housing Act of 1959. This program funds private, not-for-profit organizations primarily for developing housing projects for seniors.
This program also provides rent assistance for seniors through subsidies to landlords, estate owners, and developers. The resulting housing units provide subsidized and nearly free accommodation to seniors who receive healthcare assistance and those who don’t.
The budget allocation for Section 202 was $853 million in 2021, $60 million more than in 2020. There are no preconditions for the income source, meaning that seniors have different income sources and levels, including pensions, retirement funds, social security payments, or job salaries.
You’ll need to visit your nearest PHA office to apply for subsidized housing through HUD Section 202. The eligibility criteria require the elders to be 62 years or older and have a very low income.
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
PACE is a program that offers medical and social services to the elderly who reside in communities and not old homes. The majority of the successful applicants qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. If the participants choose to live in hospices, they must first unsubscribe from the PACE program.
This program combines housing with home care assistance for seniors. It enables low-income seniors to continue living in their own homes using financial assistance from the government. This program helps seniors by subsidizing their rent, mortgage, and utility expenses and paying for some of their medical expenses.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is another HUD program that provides housing assistance through a subsidized rent facility. This program caters to extremely low-income families, seniors, and disabled people who depend primarily on social security and have little or no savings.
These vouchers provided by the HUD dispense with housing assistance by paying a portion of the home or apartment’s rent to the recipient. Through Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, seniors on social security can choose safe and affordable housing units for residence.
The housing vouchers are given to participants of the Section 8 program, who then turn them over to their landlords. The PHA pays the landlords a direct subsidy in exchange for housing vouchers on behalf of the program participants.
Participants are then required to pay the rent minus the subsidy provided. In some cases, the PHA may allow families to use their vouchers to assist them in the purchase of a moderate home.
The PHA determines the applicant’s eligibility based on the family’s total annual gross income and family size. Section 8 vouchers are available to citizens of the United States and some non-citizens with eligible immigration status.
To be eligible, the family’s income must be below 50% of the median income of the area where the family chooses to live. A public housing authority must provide 75% of the vouchers to applicants with less than 30% of the median income in the area where they live. To apply for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, contact your local PHA.
To improve your financial and living situation through government and private assistance programs, check our article on churches that help with financial assistance.