Money & Policy

Affordable Housing Can Help Make Ends Meet

Some also offer services to help meet residents' needs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 202 Program offers subsidized housing and rental assistance for individuals over 62 who meet the requirements of the federal program.

These communities often help residents access a variety of health care, transportation and other services. Other HUD programs, like public housing communities, also serve seniors and may offer service coordination for their residents.

Who Pays for Affordable Senior Housing?

A variety of sources finance affordable senior housing communities. Residents pay rent based on their adjusted gross income, which is calculated by subtracting approved medical expenses from their income. Each resident pays 30 percent of the adjusted income for rent and utilities.

HUD provides interest-free capital advances to nonprofit organizations to finance the development of affordable senior housing. The capital advance does not have to be repaid as long as the project serves the very low-income elderly persons for 40 years. Charitable organizations also offer money to these communities.

There are a few privately financed affordable housing programs. These programs are typically restricted to the members of the fraternal or religious organization that sponsors the housing.

What Services May an Affordable Senior Housing Community Offer?

The 202 program does not specifically pay for services. However, many providers have service coordinators on staff who link residents with outside home- and community-based service providers. Some of these services include:

  • Meal delivery programs.
  • Transportation services.
  • Wellness programs.
  • Social activities.

What Questions Should I Ask an Affordable Senior Housing Provider?

There is often limited availability in affordable senior housing communities. That's why it is important to ask if a community has units available immediately. If not, ask if they have a waiting list and how long an person can expect to be on it before there is an apartment available. Other important questions to consider include:

  • What are the income limits for the property?
  • Is there a service coordinator available to assist residents that may need services?
  • If yes, what services can a coordinator help a resident access in the community?

What Value Does an Affordable Senior Housing Community Offer Older Adults and Their Loved Ones?

Affordable senior housing programs offer safe, decent housing options to those seniors with limited incomes. Often, these communities have accessible apartments available for seniors with mobility or other problems. Many also offer supportive service coordination that helps individuals receive the services they need to age in a place they call home.

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