Housing For Seniors On Social Security 

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The topic of low-income senior housing is quite broad, with the term “low income families” being relative. What one senior household finds affordable may not be the same for another. 

Generally, though, a senior person or household with a low, fixed monthly adjusted income, no additional financial support, and less than $5,000 in assets are often considered low income housing programs. Beyond this, specific programs set income and age limits, along with other criteria, to determine eligibility.

This article explores what affordable senior housing entails and provides information on the current low-income senior housing programs available in the United States. It will also discuss ways to reduce the monthly cost of senior housing and assist seniors in finding the most suitable solution for their needs.

What is Low-Income Senior Housing?

Low-income senior housing is typically linked to government-subsidized rental units designed for the elderly. The rent for these units can be subsidized, covered by credits, paid through vouchers, or controlled in terms of cost, depending on the chosen program. 

Some of the most budget-friendly options for senior living require a consideration of “very low” income levels, with community owners maintaining rents at a significantly low average to qualify for subsidies.

To address the challenges of an aging population and the escalating cost of housing, numerous seniors face difficulties in affording their current living arrangements. Those on fixed incomes, especially, encounter a scarcity of affordable senior living choices.

This shortage of options poses a genuine problem for low-income seniors throughout the United States. By 2018, the National Council on Aging indicated that 25 million seniors were either at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). This underscores the critical importance of discovering affordable senior housing for millions of individuals across the nation.

Housing For Senior Citizens On Social Security

Seniors relying on Social Security have numerous affordable housing options at their disposal. Eligible individuals may benefit from government-sponsored initiatives like Section 8 or HUD Senior Housing. Alternatively, some seniors opt for living in dedicated communities or retirement homes.

For those seeking economical housing solutions while on Social Security, here are some useful tips:

  • Check with the local housing authority or Department of Social Services to explore potential eligibility for government-sponsored programs.
  • Investigate senior citizen communities or retirement homes in your vicinity, often offering more budget-friendly alternatives compared to conventional apartments or houses.
  • Seek recommendations from family and friends; they might be aware of affordable housing opportunities for seniors.

By conducting a bit of research, seniors on Social Security can discover excellent low-cost housing options that align with their specific needs and budgetary constraints.

Affordable Housing Options for Older Adults

Presently, numerous cost-effective housing choices cater to older adults experiencing financial uncertainty. These alternatives encompass the prospect of aging in place, allowing individuals to remain in their homes or share a residence with family and friends. Alternatively, they can explore moving into subsidized senior living or assisted living facilities for additional support and amenities.

Staying in Your Home

Opting for this choice becomes ideal when an individual doesn’t require comprehensive care for their daily living or simply needs some assistance with caregiving. 

Moreover, it might be the most cost-effective solution to remain in one’s current home, especially if the mortgage is paid off or the rent is low. For those interested in aging in place but facing challenges in meeting mortgage payments, considering a reverse mortgage could be a viable solution.

Those who have accumulated enough equity in their homes have the option to extract some of that equity to continue living in their home at minimal costs, aside from expenses like local taxes and any homeowner’s association (HOA) fees.

Another alternative is selling the home to a company such as Rentback.com or Sell2rent.com and then renting it back from them. This choice may potentially provide more equity in the home compared to a reverse mortgage, and it often includes home maintenance as part of the package.

Living with Family

The clinical program manager at Solutions of Change, a nonprofit organization in Las Vegas, suggests that seniors can find the most budget-friendly option by residing in a supportive family setting. Living with children or other relatives is typically either free or low-cost, providing the added benefit of having family members around to lend a hand when assistance is needed.

Public and Subsidized Senior Housing

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides affordable housing options for older adults in need. These options include public housing apartments and single-family homes. 

The senior housing units are designed with features like ramps and bathroom handrails to ensure accessibility. Additionally, residents may benefit from transportation services, cleaning services, and engaging activities.

The cost of these housing units is subsidized, meaning the rent is typically set at 30% of the individual’s income. For example, if someone earns $1,000 a month, they would pay $300 for housing.

It’s important to note that finding available subsidized housing can be challenging. These options are often in high demand, with wait lists that can stretch for months or even years. According to Gottlieb, an expert in the field, these housing units are few and far between and may already be at or beyond capacity.

For more information about HUD subsidized housing in your area, it is recommended to reach out to a HUD housing counselor specializing in your location. They can provide valuable insights and assistance in navigating the process.

Assisted Living and Residential Care Options

Living in an assisted living facility or residential care facility becomes an appealing choice when someone needs support with home upkeep or everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, and using the toilet.

In these facilities, residents can benefit from provided meals, engaging activities, and assistance with daily living activities (ADLs), including managing medications if required. 

The cost of residing in an assisted living facility tends to hover around $4,000 per month or $48,000 annually, as reported by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). However, it’s essential to note that actual expenses may vary depending on the specific state.

On the other hand, residential care facilities, with their intimate settings accommodating 20 or fewer residents, provide round-the-clock care, meals, and aid with ADLs. Despite being one of the pricier care options, these facilities typically charge an average of $4,908 per month for a shared room.

Types of Low-Income Housing Options

Various affordable housing choices are accessible to senior citizens relying on Social Security. These options encompass apartments specifically designed for seniors, Section 8 housing, and public housing.

Subsidized Apartments

Numerous subsidized apartments cater to senior citizens receiving Social Security benefits. These housing options usually offer more affordable rent, and some even cover utilities and additional amenities. 

Individuals interested in exploring these opportunities can reach out to their Local Public Housing Authority to check if they meet the eligibility criteria for subsidized housing.

Section 8 Programs

Senior citizens on Social Security have access to various Section 8 programs designed to support them. One notable option is the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which aids low-income households by helping with rent payments.

Additionally, there is the Senior Housing Community Development Block Grant program, which contributes to the funding of senior housing developments. Another program is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which assists with energy costs.

For detailed information on these programs and more, individuals can reach out to their local public housing authority or explore HUD’s website

Affordable Senior Housing

As individuals age, the importance of finding a secure and reasonably priced place to live grows significantly. Seniors relying on Social Security may encounter challenges when searching for affordable housing. Here are some helpful tips on discovering budget-friendly senior housing:

Connect with the Local Area Agency on Aging

Reach out to your Local Area Agency on Aging for assistance. They can guide you to various resources in your community, providing valuable information about housing options that won’t strain your budget.

Explore State Housing Finance Agencies

Check with your State’s Housing Finance Agency, as many states offer specialized programs designed to assist seniors in making home ownership more affordable. These programs could provide financial support or other resources to ease the financial burden.

Use HUD’s Senior Housing Locator Tool

Take advantage of the Senior Housing Locator tool provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This online tool is a convenient way to identify affordable rental housing options in proximity to your location.

Seek Recommendations from Family and Friends

Don’t underestimate the power of personal connections. Talk to your family and friends about your housing needs. Sometimes, the most effective way to find affordable senior housing is through word-of-mouth recommendations from those you trust.

By following these tips, seniors can navigate the search for housing with greater ease, ensuring a safe and affordable living arrangement as they age.

Assisted Living Facilities For Seniors On Social Security

Numerous assisted living facilities provide budget-friendly housing options for seniors receiving Social Security benefits. This article highlights some of the top choices available.: 

The Salvation Army Senior Apartments

The Salvation Army provides affordable housing options for senior citizens throughout the United States. To be eligible, individuals must be 62 years old or older and have an annual income that falls below 50% of the median income for their local area.

Elderly Housing Development And Operations Corporation

The Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation offers affordable housing to low-income seniors across various states nationwide. To be eligible, individuals must be 62 years or older and have an annual income that is below 60% of the area median income.

National Church Residences

The National Church Residences organization is responsible for owning and managing senior housing communities across 28 states. To qualify for residency, individuals need to meet certain eligibility criteria, which can differ based on the particular community. 

In most cases, prospective residents should be at least 62 years old and maintain an annual income that is below 60% of the area’s median income.

Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Communities is the proud owner and operator of multiple senior living communities throughout the United States. Each community has its eligibility criteria, but generally, residents should be at least 62 years old. Additionally, most communities require an annual income that is no more than 80% of the median income in the area.

How To Find And Apply For Low-Cost Housing Options For Seniors?

Senior citizens relying on Social Security have access to various affordable housing choices. To begin the process, individuals should reach out to their Local Social Security Office and inquire about the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

This initiative grants tax credits to developers engaged in constructing or revamping low-income housing. In turn, these developers allocate several units specifically for seniors who meet the stipulated income criteria.

Alternatively, seniors can explore options by contacting their state or county housing agency. Diverse programs exist across states and counties, offering support to seniors seeking economical housing solutions.

For instance, the California Department of Housing and Community Development administers the Senior Citizen Rent Escrow Account Program. This program safeguards seniors from eviction in case their rent experiences an increase of more than 10%.

Moreover, numerous non-profit organizations extend low-cost housing opportunities for seniors. A useful starting point for this quest is the National Council on Aging’s website, featuring a searchable database encompassing affordable senior housing options nationwide.

How Do I Find Affordable Senior Housing Near Me?

For individuals seeking low-income housing, they can reach out to their local HUD public housing authority. The housing authority office will guide them through the next steps in the application process. 

Alternatively, they can dial 211 or visit the local 211 website to connect with someone who can assist them with their housing needs. These 211 agencies are dedicated to helping Americans fulfill essential needs such as housing, food, healthcare, and transportation.

A convenient option is to conduct a quick internet search. Just enter the type of housing you’re interested in along with your city. For instance, you can search for “low-income senior housing in Philadelphia.” 

Another useful resource is our senior living directory, where you can explore listings state-by-state or based on your ZIP code to discover senior living services in your vicinity.

How Do I Pay for Senior Housing?

Even if individuals manage to secure an affordable place to live, concerns about covering living expenses may persist. Older adults can access support for housing and care through various avenues, including:

Social Security and Retirement Income 

As of 2022, retired workers received an average monthly Social Security benefit of $1,669. Many seniors rely on this income, along with other retirement funds such as pensions or withdrawals from investment accounts, to meet the costs associated with senior living or housing.

Selling or Renting Homes

Those considering a move to be with family, into an apartment or a senior living community can sell or rent out their existing homes. The proceeds from such transactions can be used to offset the expenses related to aging in the new location or covering care costs in a senior living community.

Housing Vouchers

A significant portion of housing voucher recipients comprises seniors or disabled households. If eligible for a voucher, individuals pay no more than 30 percent of their adjusted income on rent, with the government covering the remaining amount.

Long-Term Care Insurance

While policy details may vary, long-term care insurance can assist in covering the costs associated with transitioning to assisted living, memory care, or a nursing home.

Other Private Funds

Families adopt diverse approaches to supporting aging loved ones. In some cases, younger family members contribute to living costs, enabling seniors to remain in their own homes, even when managing a fixed income.

Will Medicaid or Medicare Pay for Low-Income Senior Housing?

Navigating what Medicaid and Medicare cover can be a bit challenging. When it comes to expenses like your mortgage, low-income senior housing, or room and board at an assisted living facility, unfortunately, neither Medicaid nor Medicare can foot the bill. 

Senior housing and most senior living care costs aren’t covered by Medicare, but it does step in for short-term nursing home stays post-hospitalization.

Now, Medicaid might provide some relief for those eyeing an assisted living facility. You could potentially use Medicaid to cover services in such a facility, such as nursing and personal care. 

However, keep in mind that it doesn’t extend to covering room and board expenses. For specific details on coverage in your state, it’s advisable to check with your state’s Medicaid program, as coverage can vary.

Budgeting Ideas for Seniors on a Fixed Income

For an individual seeking affordability, it is beneficial to define what “affordable housing” personally means. A great starting point involves creating a budget. For those with a fixed income, budgeting is straightforward as the monthly income is known. 

However, it’s crucial to assess if the fixed income adequately covers necessary expenses. Begin by listing mandatory expenses, including housing, food, medicine, medical insurance, and transportation. While fixed income may fall short, it’s essential to gain clarity on how well it can address these needs.

Expanding the budget beyond mandatory expenses is advisable, incorporating a miscellaneous category for emergencies. Concentrating on reducing mandatory expenses is a solid initial step. 

Break down each category and explore cost-effective alternatives. For instance, regarding housing, consider renting a senior apartment or opting for independent senior housing if you currently own a home.

Homeownership entails expenses such as maintenance, property taxes, and repairs, which can be substantial for older homes. Investigate affordable living options in your locality, contemplate having a roommate, or discuss the possibility of moving in with family. These measures can significantly decrease housing costs, contributing to a more budget-friendly living situation.

Expert Guidance for Lower-Income Older Adults Seeking Affordable Housing

For individuals seeking affordable housing, experts advise starting the search early to increase the chances of finding a suitable place. Planning is crucial, as many communities maintain lengthy waitlists. The sooner a desirable residence is identified, the better the likelihood of securing a spot.

To navigate the process, it’s recommended to enlist the assistance of a certified senior advisor. They can provide valuable guidance in narrowing down options and completing application procedures. 

Given the scarcity of affordable housing, maintaining an open mind about location is essential. The ideal option may not be within the current city of residence, prompting individuals to explore alternatives in different areas.

When evaluating potential affordable housing, taking the time to visit each community is vital. Observing the surroundings, residents, and overall ambiance helps gauge comfort and suitability. Experts suggest asking specific questions to determine the best living option:

  • Proximity to Essential Places: Is the residence conveniently located near essential places like banks and hair salons?
  • Safety: Is the neighborhood and facility considered safe?
  • Maintenance: Does the facility appear clean and well-maintained?
  • Hygiene: Are there any cleanliness issues, such as bedbugs?
  • Complaints: Check your state Department of Health’s website for any complaints about elder abuse.

Furthermore, protecting personal and financial information during the application process is crucial. Avoid paying application fees or upfront deposits for subsidized housing, and refrain from sharing social security numbers or other personal data with unknown individuals or facilities.


Locating affordable housing for senior citizens on Social Security might pose a challenge, but it’s certainly achievable. With the proper resources and research, seniors can discover housing options that match their budgets and requirements.

Individuals seeking subsidized apartments or other forms of assistance will find numerous organizations committed to aiding seniors in their housing needs. By exploring all available options, senior citizens can secure access to safe and budget-friendly living arrangements throughout their retirement years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do the happiest retirees live?

The most joyful retirees are found in sunny and warm regions such as California, Florida, Arizona, or Hawaii. In these states, older adults usually experience consistently pleasant weather throughout the year, a wealth of recreational opportunities, and easy access to top-notch healthcare services.

What are the most to qualify for low-income housing?

Several pathways exist for individuals to qualify for low-income housing. One option involves having an income below a specific threshold established by the government. Another option is having assets that fall below a certain limit. Additionally, certain programs determine eligibility based on both income and assets.

What state has the most affordable housing for seniors?

Hawaii boasts the title of the state with the most budget-friendly housing options for seniors. In Honolulu, the median rental price for a one-bedroom apartment stands at a reasonable $1,100 per month. This affordable rate is especially beneficial for seniors relying on Social Security, making it an attractive choice for those seeking cost-effective living arrangements.

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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