If you’re searching for affordable living options for seniors, it’s worth taking the time to learn more about the Housing Choice Voucher Program to see if you qualify for assistance. The HCVP, more commonly referred to as the Section 8 program, provides rental assistance to low-income families, disabled persons, and senior citizens. Aid is provided to ensure that the most vulnerable in America have access to sanitary, safe, and affordable housing opportunities.
The Section 8 program is operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but is handled on local levels through public housing authorities. This program provides millions of seniors with affordable senior housing options each year.
While Section 8 does not cover all of your housing expenses, it can cover up to 70 percent of your rental costs. The coverage amount is based on many factors, including where you live, your income, and your qualifying expenses. If qualified for assistance, you will need to choose a senior apartment that accepts Section 8, and your local public housing authority will provide your granted assistance directly to your landlord.
To qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, you must meet low-income eligibility requirements. While those requirements can vary between communities, the general rule is that your income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the local area. Additionally, should you choose to live in a senior apartment, you will need to meet the apartment’s age-based qualifications.
After you apply for low-income senior housing, you will be paired with a caseworker that you will need to complete an interview with. During this interview, you must provide supporting documentation that outlines your eligibility, such as proof of income. If you qualify for assistance, you will either receive aid right away or you will be placed on a waiting list. Most communities have a waiting list, and some applicants wait months or years before assistance becomes available. However, many public housing authorities give priority to low-income senior citizens.
Since each public housing authority has its own waiting lists, senior citizens are encouraged to apply at multiple locations. While you may not be able to get housing in your first-choice community, you will likely be able to receive benefits faster than if you only applied for Section 8 in one community. Finally, once you begin to receive low-income senior housing aid, you will need to meet continued eligibility criteria to retain your benefits. Each public housing authority may have its own requirements, but all agencies will require you to report changes to your household or income.