After working all of their lives, senior citizens should be able to enjoy their golden years without having to worry about having a comfortable place to live. However, that’s not the situation for far too many seniors living in the United States.
For instance, upon reaching the age of retirement, seniors rely on any financial plans that they made while they were working, such as their 401 Ks, or they’re depending on the money that they have paid into social security. Fixed incomes (which are now stand to become even smaller in today’s political and economic climates) have left many people over the age of 65 struggling to keep the roofs over their heads.
On average, seniors are allocating 30 percent of their already minimal budgets toward housing, the cost of which seems to be constantly rising in every corner of the country. Those who do have the means to pay these housing expenses are left with very little to cover other necessary expenses, such as healthcare and food. In conclusion, that means that far too many senior citizens are forced to decide whether they can afford to eat and pay for their medications or continue sheltering themselves.
Affordable housing options are a priority for seniors, and fortunately, there are options available. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time covering current housing expenses, here’s a look at some ways that you can reduce your housing costs.
1. Medicaid Assisted Living
Millions of seniors rely on Medicaid for their health insurance needs. This federally backed program, which is run by individual states, helps to cover the cost of healthcare for qualifying low-income individuals and those that they support. Many fixed-income seniors are eligible for Medicaid, and those who need to live in an assisted living facility may be able to rely on their Medicaid payments to cover the cos
2. The Housing Choice Voucher Program
This program is funded by the federal government. Those who qualify will receive vouchers from the Public Housing Authority (PHA) office in their local area. These vouchers can be used to cover payments for private housing.
In order words, tenants who qualify will issue the vouchers they receive from the PHA to their landlords, and the PHA will cover a portion of tenants’ rent. It is up to the individual renter to cover the remaining portion of the rent that their voucher does not cover. However, that remaining portion is a fraction of the total cost, which can make housing much more affordable for seniors who are struggling to pay for housing.
3. Section 811
This program is specifically offered for low-income individuals with disabilities. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors this program, and the aim is to enable those who have disabilities the opportunity to live independently while accessing any support services that they need. For low-income senior citizens with disabilities, this is a viable option for affordable housing that may be able to work within their budgets.
4. Section 202
Also backed by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), section 202 housing is only to low-income senior citizens. Those who are eligible for this program will receive financial support for various needs, including housing, meals, transportation, as well as physical assistance for those who are handicapped.
5. Adult Family Homes
Seniors who are able-minded and able-bodied and do not need medical assistance and do not live with their loved ones, an adult family home may be a viable affordable housing solution. In these facilities, several senior citizens live in a residential group home. These facilities are fully licensed and must abide by the stringent rules that are set forth by the Department of Family Services.
In addition to providing affordable housing, those who live in adult family homes also have access to other services, such as meals, transportation assistance, and physical activities.
6. Congregate Housing Service Program
The Congregate Housing Service Program (also known as CHSP) is sponsored by Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This program offers grants that can be put toward approved properties, as well as subsidized housing. This program offers low-income senior citizens an affordable housing option. In addition to providing housing, the CHSP also offers other essential services, such as a daily hot meal (which is usually delivered), transportation, and non-medically related help.
In other words, CHSP is designed to fill in any gaps in services that are linked to housing and daily life that may not be incorporated in the housing options that are available to all low-income seniors.
7. Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Its purpose is to offer tax credits to both for-profit and non-profit organizations as a way to assist with offering affordable housing options to low-income senior citizens.
LIHTC offers communities, in which those who qualify live. Usually, these communities offer an array of amenities that will accommodate for basic care needs for residents who are 65 an over. The cost of rent can be reduced for residents who qualify for this tax credit and whoever owns the property that the resident lives in will be issued a tax credit by the IRS as a way to make up the difference for the reduced rent that those who qualify are receiving.
No senior should ever have to face the fear of going homeless. Fortunately, thanks to the above-mentioned programs, low-income seniors do have ways that they can secure more affordable housing. In addition to reduced housing costs, many of these programs also offer additional care services, either for free or at a discounted rate. Above all, to find out if you or someone you love qualifies for these low-income housing options, speak to someone who specializes in grants or conduct research online, where you will find a wealth of information about the qualifications for these programs.