Senior citizens are eligible for a number of government grants from various agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Some of the grants are for basic health, food and housing services, while others seek senior citizens willing to volunteer their time and talents. For most grant programs, a senior is defined as a person 55 years of age or older, although this definition may vary depending on the program.
Senior Corps RSVP Grants Competition (RSVP)
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is offered through Senior Corps, an office of the Corporation for National and Community Service. These grants use the skills and experiences of a diverse group of age 55 and older volunteers to meet critical community needs. For example, one grant was provided to RSVP volunteers to organize neighborhood watches for a city of 45,000. Eligible applicants are organizations that have experience operating service programs and experience serving older adults. These three-year grant awards average $76,000. (See Reference 1/Click on Senior Corp RSVP Grants Competition)
Assisted Living Conversion for Eligible Multi-family Housing Projects
Operated through HUD, these grants aim to discourage early institutionalization of the elderly by funding the conversion of housing units into Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs). These grants are awarded to private non-profit owners of multi-family assisted housing developments and average $3.9 million to fund the actual conversion of the housing units. The applicant is responsible for finding other funding sources to pay for the operational expenses and supportive services expenses necessary to operate an ALF (See Reference 1/Click on Assisted Living Conversions).
Tax Counseling for the Elderly
This program provides grants to public or private non-profit organizations with experience coordinating volunteers. Proposals must show elderly taxpayers at least 60 years of age will benefit from training a network of volunteers to provide free income tax preparation assistance. Grant funding should be used to train volunteers and pay their volunteer expenses, including transportation, meals and supplies. Tax assistance should also be provided at locations convenient and accessible to elderly clients.
Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loans and Grants
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development office provides annual grants and grant/loan combinations to “very low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their dwellings or to remove health and safety hazards.” Eligible applicants are homeowners over age 62 who are unable to obtain credit elsewhere and must have incomes below 50 percent of the median income for their area. In addition, repairs must be a safety and sanitation necessity. Grant funds of $7500 and low-interest loans of up to $20,000 are available.