Affordable Housing Options for Low-Income Seniors
Today, seniors face an uphill battle when it comes to finding affordable and accessible senior living communities. Why? High costs, of course. It’s not cheap to live in a senior living development that can meet the needs of the everyday senior citizen. These can be needs like location, the type of care, and certain accommodations.
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Luckily there are many new options that seniors can consider such as government initiatives, subsidies, or cheaper alternatives to traditional housing, low-income seniors have several options for housing. A simple online search can be very helpful to learn about the different criteria needed to qualify.
There are six different types of housing for low-income seniors:
1. Co-op Housing – Co-op housing is rapidly becoming a great option for seniors because it’s really cost-effective.
2. Virtual Retirement Communities – Great option if you want to continue to live in your own home but want to have access to nearby senior living services
3. Public Housing – Budget-friendly option for seniors who qualify as low-income individuals. The costs are determined by annual income.
4. Housing Choice Voucher – This federal program is for seniors to receive federal assistance with monthly rent. In order to qualify, your income must not exceed 50% of the median income in your area.
5. Section 202 Supportive Housing – Works to expand the supply of housing for low-income individuals with supportive services.
Two main functions:
1. Provide funds and assistance to nonprofits that work to construct, rehabilitate, or acquire supportive housing for very low-income elderly, and;
2. Provide rental assistance, that makes up the difference between the reduced rents that eligible seniors are required to pay and the operating expenses of a particular development.
6. Low-Income Housing Tax Credit – This federally funded program ensures there is enough housing for every senior looking for low rent options. Apartment buildings set aside units for low-income seniors. Seniors can take advantage of this initiative by applying for a LIHTC in their community
To get an idea of how much you could save, you first need to know what costs to expect normally. So the question is, what does it usually cost to live in senior housing?
Well, The National Center for Assisted Living put out a 2020 report that the average cost for senior housing is about $4,000 per month. There are almost a million people today who are paying these figures. Fully private rooms can run in excess of $7,500 per month. Imagine being retired and paying that yourself. On a fixed income, no less! With staggering numbers like this, it feels like senior living communities are becoming a luxury for the few rather than a necessity for the many.
But here’s where things get brighter. Given the boom in new senior living developments, seniors are now able to access a greater array of options, like urban senior communities and multigenerational communities. And because they need those rooms filled, prices are down, and they aren’t expected to go back up until these developments hit high capacity.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Where are these good deals?” You just have to know where to look.
The easiest tip is to find out which developments are the newest. These are always the ones that are being built bigger and better to usher in the next generations of residents. This won’t be too hard to find because they’ll always be advertising. The demand is getting so low that these developers are introducing incredible deals for seniors.
These developers are fully aware that there’s going to be a long length of time where the total number of assisted living facilities and senior living homes will vastly outnumber the actual number of residents who are living in them. Not only will developers drop prices to mitigate this, but they will also introduce discounts, but incentive also offers, and some seriously great deals to get the maximum number of seniors into each home.
Demand will stay at an all-time low while housing will continue to become more and more affordable. It’s become evident in cities like Peoria, Tempe, and Mesa in the state of Arizona. It’s currently a goldmine of affordability and it offers some of the most reliable and cheapest senior services and activities in the country.
There are other states with many cities that provide affordable housing, like Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Ohio to name a few.
Another helpful tool to keep the best options in mind is to follow the yearly “A Place for Mom” free report. They compile data on senior living costs around the country, and they are even able to estimate costs down to the local level. This is especially helpful if you, your parents or loved ones want to find these opportunities in cities that will still be close to family.
The irony of it all is that developers secretly don’t want you to know that these prices are getting lower and lower. Have you noticed that you haven’t seen any marketing campaigns from them on television or newsprint? Have you realized that the only major advertisements are for senior care communities that are already impacted and nearly full? Developers are keeping local outreach to an absolute minimum because they don’t want to lose any profit during a downturn on demand. What you can do to remedy this is to go out and find websites that give out sponsored listings. These listings will contain the very discounts that aren’t going to be advertised elsewhere.
The most important part is to act as quickly as you can because these deals won’t stick around for long. Once demand returns to normal, developers will have no reason to let the good deals last. Don’t wait until you’re stuck with little to no options, this is the time to get a jump on the rest of the senior population and get moved into a great deal of a home before anyone else. The thousands of dollars you will have saved on making the move early will have lasting benefits for years. And not stressing out about tight finances could just add more years to you or a loved one’s life.
Do the research as often as you can to find what’s available in your city and other local areas to discover what’s out there for seniors looking to get settled into a new community.