Developed to help low-income families in the U.S. find safe, affordable housing, government programs provide housing for low-income seniors. These programs for the elderly offer lower rents and/or access to medical care. Local department of health and human services offices, community action partnership agencies (CAP), housing authority offices and local Veterans Administration offices offer access to housing and assistance programs for the elderly.
Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing
Homelessness does not discriminate against the elderly. Older individuals who are homeless do not necessarily sleep on park benches. A senior may live with another person because she cannot afford her own housing. The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) helps low-income seniors with housing and rent costs. HPRP funds do not go directly to elderly individuals. Instead, non-profit organizations and charities receive the funds to assist elderly clients with security deposits, rent and back-rent payments, homeless prevention services, and eviction prevention. HPRP programs can provide up to 18 months of assistance.
Section 8 Housing
The Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as “Section 8,” through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers rental assistance to the low-income elderly. This program allows seniors to live in government-subsidized homes or privately-owned rental units. Through the Section 8 program, the elderly tenant only pays a fraction of the fair market rent (FMR) and HUD pays the rest. However, if the individual chooses to live in a rental property that charges above the FMR rate, the senior has to pay the difference. CAP agencies and local housing authority programs generally assist the elderly with Section 8 housing programs.
Low-Income Assisted Living
Elderly individuals who meet the income guidelines can receive supportive housing assistance through HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program or the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Income guidelines for these programs vary by state, and local housing authority offices can assist individuals interested in applying. Like the Housing Choice Voucher program, the elderly individual only pays a portion of the rent cost and HUD pays the balance.
Housing for Veterans
The Veterans Administration provides home care benefits and affordable housing options to those who served in the military. Programs vary by state, but eligibility criteria are the same. Qualified veterans are those who served at least one day during a time of active war, served in the military for at least 90 days, have less than $80,000 in bank and investment accounts, received an honorable or general discharge, and do not participate in other state assistance programs. Surviving elderly spouses of veterans also qualify for VA housing assistance if the spouse was married to the veteran when he passed away.