Are there any resources to help individuals find and pay for affordable apartments? My aunt, who is 75 years old, needs to find a new place to live but has very little money. What can you tell me?
Finding affordable housing options can be difficult depending on where your aunt lives. Senior apartments are a good option for some retirees, and you will be happy to know that there are a number of government programs that can help financially. Here are some tips that can help you and your aunt find a low-income apartment that fits her budget and living preferences.
Housing Subsidy Programs
There are several different government programs available today that can help individuals who qualify to locate and pay for housing, including:
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8): This program allows an individual to find their desired housing. The government provides the voucher amount to the landlord each month.
- Privately-owned subsidized housing: HUD helps some apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants.
- Public Housing: These communities are generally apartment buildings or complexes that are overseen by a city or county public housing agency and are available to low-income families, the elderly and those with disabilities.
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: This program provides housing to low-income families and includes rents that do not exceed a fixed amount.
- Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly: This initiative helps older tenants and the disabled. It offers housing for individuals who are able to live mostly on their own but need assistance with certain daily tasks like cleaning and cooking.
For more information about these programs and to locate apartments in your aunt's area, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rental assistance page at HUD.gov/topics/rental_assistance
You can also locate nearby affordable housing options by calling your local housing authority. Call 800-955-2232 to get your local number. If your aunt lives near multiple counties, check with the housing authority in each one to compare.
How to Choose
If you or your aunt find several apartment choices that fall within her budget, she should consider what is important to her. She may want housing that is close to family, religious organizations, community centers, or places she visits regularly, like grocery stores, parks or gyms. If she has a disabling condition, it may be especially critical for her to find a living space that has easy access to important services, such as senior transportation and health care centers.
In your housing search, you may also come across some red flags that indicate a retirement community would not be a good fit for your aunt. Keep an eye out for extra fees that may be applied to everyday items or perks you normally would not think about, including laundry service, parking or pets.
You should also make sure the apartment is in good condition and then scout out the neighborhood. Ask yourself if the community is clean and well maintained. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, follow up with questions before your aunt signs a rental contract.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.