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For older adults with limited incomes, a substantial cohort of LeadingAge member providers offer independent, affordable apartment living with rental assistance offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), several also offer a range of services and/or a service coordinator. Other subsidies and below market rate units are sometimes also available.
You can search our member provider database; or contact the LeadingAge affiliate in your stateto request a list of members providing low-income affordable or subsidized housing. HUD also maintains its own databases for:
- Privately owned subsidized housing -
HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Search for an apartment and apply directly at the management office.
- Public Housing -
Housing Authorities own and operate affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. To apply, contact your local public housing agency.
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) –
Housing Authorities offer vouchers, where you find your own place and use the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a public housing agency.
- Additional rental help in your state –
find affordable rentals and special needs housing, get help with your utility bills, and more
Understanding HUD Housing Options:
HUD funds several rental assistance programs for qualifying persons based on income:
Public housing is low-income housing that is owned and operated by a local housing authority. You must contact the individual public housing authority in the areas you wish to live to apply. Same goes for Section 8 certificates or vouchers, which can be used to help offset the total cost of rent. Successful voucher applicants must find suitable housing and will pay at least 30% of their adjusted income in rent, or more. Each housing authority has a system for accepting applications. They can tell you what their system is and the steps you will need to take to find an apartment.
Privately owned subsidized housing includes units where the government provides subsidies directly to owners of qualified properties developed with loans or grants from the Federal government. The owners pass along the federal rental assistance subsidy to qualified residents to cover the gap between the resident payment, generally 30 percent of adjusted income, and rent costs.
To apply for housing in a privately-owned affordable housing community, you will have to visit the management office for each site you are interested in, or you may find some with centralized offices which maintain a master list for multiple sites. Each has their own selection criteria, and maintains their own waiting lists. Find out more about how your rent is determined.
For both programs, applicants are screened for income and program eligibility before being accepted. When successful in obtaining a HUD rental assistance subsidy, qualified individuals/families generally pay no more than 30% of their adjusted income toward rent. The rental assistance subsidy makes up the difference. To be eligible for most programs, your income must be at or below a maximum income established for your area. Income limits are published annually.
Some states and/or localities have additional rental assistance programs. If you are a senior, or making connections on behalf of a senior, the ElderCare Locator should be able to provide you with this information or call 800-677-1116. Laws, regulations, government reimbursement rates, and services vary widely by state. The ElderCare Locator contact should be able to provide you with general information about services available in your state, or refer you to local agencies with knowledge of facilities and services in your specific area.
For Non-Subsidized, Below-Market or Market-Rate Apartments, there are a number of publicly-available websites, such as www.seniorhousingnet.com that can help you in your search.