Section 8 & Rental Assistance For Seniors
Are you struggling to find affordable and safe housing? Many American seniors are. Here are some helpful programs that may be able to assist you!
An older woman stands at the front door of her house

Are you concerned about finding adequate and affordable housing? As a senior, you may be facing additional issues that affect your housing situation. These include reduced or limited income, changes in mobility, and increased health care expenses.

Fortunately, there are resources that assist seniors, known as rental assistance programs.

Let’s look at the main programs available.

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is also known as public housing. In most communities, those who qualify include low-income families including elderly or disabled individuals. The apartments or homes are owned and operated by Public Housing Authorities, also known as PHAs.

The advantage of this type of housing is that qualified residents will not pay more than 30% of their monthly income for rent.

To be eligible, a senior must be 62 or older and have an annual income that is within a “lower income” limit for a geographical area. These lower income limits are published each year by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. (HUD).

Section 8 – The Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program was formerly known as “Section 8.”

This voucher program is run by HUD and run through local PHAs. It offers rental assistance for private rental units. PHA pays the voucher directly to private property owners, while residents pay the difference owed on the rent.

With this program, seniors may find a greater variety of options, and flexibility with preferred locations.

Eligibility requirements are being 62 years or older, and meeting the “Very Low Income Limit” for your area, published annually by HUD.

To determine income eligibility, HUD looks at different income sources such as wages, salaries, commissions, fees and tips. Income also includes full amount of payments from Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, and pensions.

In addition, income sources may include welfare assistance, alimony, net income from a business, and payments such as unemployment, worker’s compensation, and severance pay.

An elderly black couple review bills on a table in front of a laptop computer

Housing and Urban Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers different programs for low-income seniors in need of supplemental income. For renters, some programs exist for subsidized property.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Some of the money that could go towards rent may be used to pay utility bills. With this in mind, there are programs to offer support to cover these bills. The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides federal funds to help families and low-income seniors that need help paying for home energy bills. Check with the program for details about income qualifications in your area.

Housing Counseling

HUD sponsors housing counseling through agencies across the nation. On this site, you’ll find an interactive map that helps you search by state or zip code. You can find advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, and credit issues. Use the interactive map to find an approved housing counseling agency in your state.

State and Local Rental Assistance

If you’re a renter or landlord, you may be able to find assistance with rent or utilities. You can search online to find Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance near you. You may also find resources by searching by state.

Alternatively, if you can’t find a program online, call 2-1-1 or your local housing authority. State and local programs often have additional services such as counseling, emergency shelter, and assistance in finding long-term housing.

COVID-19 Resources for Renters

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a comprehensive list of COVID-19 resources for renters. Check to find out updates on programs and advice on paying rent during the pandemic. Take a look at possible actions to take if you have been evicted or are at risk of homelessness.

Homeless Assistance HUD Exchange

HUD also maintains a list of resources by state and local community. If you are in need of homeless assistance, this list has contact information about many programs across the United States.

Eviction Lab Policies

With the pandemic, changes in policy have been changing rapidly. To stay up to date with COVID-19 and changing eviction policies around the nation, check out this website. You can keep your finger on the pulse of news and updates.

An older couple in front of radiator examine a bill

Need Help Paying The Bills

Programs are available by state with the help of local agencies to provide one-time assistance with emergency housing or a crisis situation. Check the website to find out more about rent help and financial assistance. Programs may be available to assist with paying for a security deposit, moving costs, lease fees or first months rent.

Government Housing Grants

Find out about different programs such as rental housing assistance grants and housing grants. These may be useful to your specific situation.

Rent-To-Own Program

Are you interested in renting to own? Many communities, cities, and states are helping residents find rental properties with creative programs. You may be able to find a program that rehabilitates abandoned and foreclosed properties in your area. As these programs vary from state to state, it’s worthwhile investigating current programs in your area.

Benefit Finder

Fill out a few questions and search for additional benefits that may help with paying bills, and getting the rental assistance you need. You may discover benefits that you are eligible to receive, and will be directed to the agency to apply.

As you research these programs, be sure to take notes. There are many programs and resources that you may find useful. If possible, reach out to your friends and family. They may also know of programs or assistance that could be useful.

Assistance Club Summary

Finding safe and stable housing is an important aspect of your health and wellness. There are many people working to find ways to help seniors have a safe, comfortable, and affordable living situation. It’s good to explore the resources and programs dedicated to helping seniors with finding affordable housing.