What is low-income or affordable housing? - SeniorHousingNet.com
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Low-Income / Affordable Housing

What is low-income or affordable housing?

Many seniors are not as prepared for retirement as they would like to be. Therefore, there are several Housing and Urban Development-sponsored programs to help seniors, creating affordable housing for citizens across the country by funding programs for rent assistance, home ownership, and assistive services for seniors and the disabled.

55+ Communities, Independent Living and Assisted Living communities offering one of several different government assistance programs designed for low-income seniors. Income restrictions generally apply and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for the assistance. The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

Types of low-income affordable housing

The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

1. Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program: For seniors who wish to live independently but may need assistance with activities of daily living, consider the Section 202 program. As the only program to exclusively provide housing to senior citizens, common features of these communities include housekeeping, transportation, referral services and counselling, though exact services and amenities vary by housing community. With this program, HUD provides loans to private, non-profit organizations to finance the construction of supportive housing for very low-income seniors and often provides rent subsidies.

  • Type of housing to expect: Generally, seniors should expect one-bedroom apartments with a kitchen and bath, plus assistance features such as ramps and grab bars. Other features include housekeeping, transportation to health care and home-delivered meals.
  • Are you eligible? Seniors must be 62 and older with very low household income (50 percent of area median). The average resident age is 79. The average yearly income is $10,018.
  • How do I apply? For more information and to apply, contact the individual housing community you are interested in. You can find housing by state here: http://www.hud.gov/apps/section8/. Make note that waitlists are usually at least a year. Preferences for admission include those currently paying 50 percent of their income in rent, those who have been involuntarily displaced and those living in substandard housing.

2. Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): Many LIHTC properties are designated as senior housing or housing for the elderly. Owned and managed by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, this tax credit program is overseen by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • Are you eligible?Each community has its own specific eligibility requirements, which are typically dictated by age and income. Usually, an LIHTC community will have a minimum age of 55 to 62. Most LIHTC community residents must have a limited income, usually 60 percent of the area median income, however some can be as low as 30 percent or as high as 80 percent.
  • What about my assets? You may still meet an LIHTC’s requirements even if you have assets or currently own your home. Eligibility is determined on income, including income generated from your assets. During a stay at a LIHTC community, you may use your home as a form of investment, however you may not live there.
  • What is a LIHTC community like? LIHTC communities usually include one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments. They usually come unfurnished. The apartments are built specifically for seniors, and many communities include common spaces and community events.
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