If your parent or loved one needs daily living assistance but is hurting financially, they aren’t out of luck. There are two alternative options — government subsidized housing and low-income accepting facilities.

While some may be uncomfortable with the phrase ‘low-income,’ these facilities are regulated and are required to provide residents with the medical care and services they need to live comfortably and safely during their stay.

Housing Options

Low-income accepting facilities (usually those given a tax credit in exchange for accepting a certain percent of lower income residents) and government-assisted housing are two options providing food and 24-hour assistance.

“No matter what facility is selected, each facility is required to operate under state and federal laws,” says Ella M. Edwards, executive director of Heritage Creek Assisted Living in San Antonio, Texas. “With that being said, the staff to resident ratio will always be based on the amount of residents; activities are also based on state regulations, and meals are also scheduled accordingly.”

Edwards also said low-income facilities should provide the same kind of nursing and medical care one would get in a non low-income facility. If seniors are having trouble finding housing, they can look to local organizations for help.

She says seniors may want to look at possible facilities, “make a list and ask locators for assistance.”

Amenities and Services

Like picking a home in most communities, amenities will vary. Some lower-income housing areas may have more amenities, like a swimming pool, while others may not. You can also expect to keep your privacy.

“In a low-income facility, there are both private and semi-private rooms,” notes Edwards.

Keep in mind that communities with more amenities are likely to be more popular, which can create a lengthy waiting list. You may have to wait several years for an opening in certain facilities.

Government assisted housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 housing program provides low-income seniors with the option of living independently, but also in a place where activities such as transportation and cooking are assisted. To qualify for Section 202 housing, at least one person in the household must be 62 years of age or older and the family income must qualify as “very low income” — typically 50 percent or less than the median income of your surrounding area, according to HUD.


Costs for senior subsidized living vary by state, facility property, and income. If a senior cannot afford the price of a particular facility, they may be able to put their house up for lien provided that they do not have a spouse or dependent living there and there is not a “reasonable chance” they will return home after being admitted into the senior housing community, according to Medicare.gov. However, you should discuss this option to make sure this is the best solution for your family.