According to the Institute on Aging, by the year 2030 as the last of the Baby Boomers turn 65, seniors will comprise 20 percent of the American population. Compare that to 1985, when older adults were just 11 percent. That’s quite an increase. How to house them all affordably and with the special amenities they may need is a growing concern. Not everybody has acquired enough savings to float a comfortable retirement home or has extended family prepared to help out.
Many seniors are on a fixed budget in their golden years, and housing costs need to be manageable. However, you don’t want low income senior housing to be substandard to basic needs. Here are some low cost senior housing options that are relatively affordable without compromising lifestyle.
Senior Co-Op Housing
Senior co-op communities are suitable for independent older adults who don’t need much assistance with their daily living requirements. To keep costs low and affordable, many of these communities require their senior residents to help out with operational tasks, such as answering phones or helping to upkeep community spaces. While today it is still a niche market within senior living, more and more of these types of cooperative communities are opening up across the country, bridging the gap between independent and assisted living.
Public Housing for Seniors
About 31 percent of all public housing tenants are elderly adults. These low income senior apartments are operated by a city or county public housing agency. This option helps the senior remain independent in their home and community which delays them having to move into a nursing home or some other government assisted institution that is more costly. Low income seniors generally qualify for public housing if they are at least 62 years old and spend around 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), formerly known as Section 8 housing, is managed by local and regional public housing agencies and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HCVP and HUD senior housing is for those with very low income who need financial help to find affordable housing. To qualify, the senior citizen’s income must be below 50 percent of the area’s median income. After passing a quality inspection, the public housing agency will pay a portion of the senior rental apartment, and the tenant will pay the rest according to the agreement on what they can afford. Note, wait lists for Housing Choice Voucher Program and HUD senior housing can be long.
Section 202 Supportive Housing for Seniors
This HUD senior housing option provides rent-assisted apartments specifically for seniors and the disabled. The tenants live as independently as possible, but assistance with daily living tasks such as cooking, housekeeping, bathing and getting dressed is offered. Some of these low income senior apartments have special adaptive features like grab bars and ramps.