Each year many seniors opt to downsize and move from a larger home to something easier to maintain. Finding the right living situation often feels overwhelming.
Factors such as monthly rent, location and lifestyle must all be considered. Simply choosing an apartment based on price can lead to disastrous living situations which you are contractually unable to leave for an entire year.
Alternately, taking the time to find the best apartments designed with seniors in mind helps to alleviate these worries. Apartments and houses with home automation products may greatly improve a senior’s quality of life.
Perhaps you are still quite active, but do not want to deal with the upkeep of a larger home and yard. Active senior apartments work well in this situation. In many senior communities, part-time assistance is also available for such tasks to help renters drive to the doctor’s office, shop for groceries or pay bills. Senior apartment living may also offer a higher level of care and assistance if the time comes where it is needed. Learn more about senior housing options below.
What are the requirements for senior apartments?
Eligibility for senior apartments depends on many factors, including the type of living situation you desire. Most importantly, these types of communities require applicants to be seniors. Some apartment complexes consider 55 years of age to be a senior, while others follow the national retirement guidelines of 65 or 67 years of age.
Once you determine the age requirement for the apartment complex, make a list of their fees, what they offer and find out if they have transitional services in place. Some are subsidized by various organizations or the government as well. If so, additional eligibility requirements may be involved.
How do I find senior apartments?
The internet is the most efficient way to find apartments catering exclusively to seniors. All you need to do is determine what your budget allows and begin exploring online. Even if you are on a limited budget, there are programs designed to help with your search.
For example, you can search online for senior living directories. These directories allow you to search for properties by state, region, city or zip code. Some offer additional search parameters as well, allowing you to find senior apartments close to your preferred medical services, sources of entertainment or family.
What are the types of low-income senior housing?
Senior housing comes in a wide variety of types, based in large part upon the lifestyle desired and the level of assistance needed. Low-income senior housing is most often sponsored and administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The following is a list of the most active and popular low-income housing programs for you to explore.
Learn About the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Housing developers are offered significant tax credits for purchasing and rehabilitating homes and buildings with the purpose of creating affordable housing situations. To qualify for these tax credits, the builders must dedicate a portion of the building toward low income rentals, giving those on low incomes and fixed incomes preference. Eligibility is determined on your income and often your assets.
Learn About Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
Seniors falling into a very-low income category, as defined by the U.S. federal poverty guidelines, may qualify for the 202 program.
Section 202, commonly referred to as the Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, not only includes low-cost housing opportunities, but also provides limited services including assistance with household tasks and transportation. This program is run by HUD, so if you plan to apply make sure to visit your local public housing authority (PHA).
Learn About Public Housing
Public housing is available to anyone with a low income, regardless of age. In many jurisdictions, disabled and elderly applicants are given preference on any waiting lists that may exist. Public housing often consists of apartment units subsidized by the government.
The government pays for all but 30 percent of the cost of rent and utilities, and leaving participants responsible for the balance. HUD maintains this program as well.
The application process for public housing is fairly straightforward, but a large number of documents are required to prove eligibility. The agents at your local PHA are there to assist with paperwork if you need help.
Most public housing offers apartment-style units, and once you are assigned an apartment the benefits are not transferrable. In other words, if you decide you want to move, the subsidy process must begin all over again for your new place.
Learn About the Housing Choice Voucher Program
One of the most popular senior housing programs for low-income seniors is the housing choice voucher program. This program is open to all low-income individuals and families, but often the elderly or disabled are given preference over other applicants. This program allows you to find an affordable living situation in a home or apartment of your choosing.
However, the landlord must participate in this program for you to receive subsidies for your rent. HUD and your local PHA maintain lists of available homes in your area for you to choose from. Some PHA offices have websites where current listings are made available, so you can look at them first. Since this is a popular program in heavily populated metropolitan areas, the waiting lists average two to five years.
Learn About Homeownership Vouchers
If you want to purchase a home, HUD offers several programs designed to help first-time home buyers as well. Qualified applicants receive assistance with the monthly mortgage payment and insurance. Seniors and disabled applicants have the eligibility requirement for employment waived, but must still meet all the other requirements.
If you are interested in this program, you must attend a home counseling workshop, which gives you an overview of the program and what to expect from the process. Once you are deemed qualified, finding a home is up to you as the PHA does not assist with that part of the process. Homes must be approved by the PHA and meet standards for safety and health.
The wait list for these types of vouchers is often less than the housing choice voucher, as the idea is to actually purchase the home as opposed to renting one. As with the other programs, you apply for it through your local PHA and HUD offices.