Boomers are aging rapidly and many members of this generation don’t feel particularly prepared for retirement. In fact, a large percentage of them aren’t retiring at all.

In the mid-’80s, 11 percent of the American workforce was 65-years old or older. In 2017, that number was closer to 20 percent. It’s projected to keep rising.

The good news for aging Americans is that senior housing assistance programs exist to aid in not only the search for a new home but with paying the rent, as well.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps older Americans in a variety of ways. The three most pertinent to housing are public housing, multifamily subsidized housing and housing vouchers (this one provides rent assistance for private-market housing). It should be noted that the waiting lists for HUD programs can be dauntingly long. Two to five years is not uncommon.

Public housing

In many cities, government-funded agencies work to ensure that apartments remain available for lower-income seniors. Not surprisingly, demand is high and so getting on that aforementioned waiting list as soon as possible is recommended.

Contact your local Agency on Aging to get information on the application process for senior public housing in your area. These organizations generally serve several counties in a given state, though some work statewide.

Multifamily subsidized housing

Section 202 is a HUD program that’s specifically designed to expand the supply of affordable housing – and here’s the neat part – with supportive services for the elderly. This means that while it does offer options for those who can live independently, much like the Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program, it can include units in communities that provide some support. This can come in the form of transportation, cleaning, cooking or other services.

Rent subsidies may also be provided. This program funds more than 250,000 homes at present. Similar to Section 8 (more on that below), Section 202 participants pay 30 percent of their income for rent. The program subsidies cover the rest.

Section 202 housing is open to any low-income household that has at least one person who is at least 62 years old. This means that if you’re living with an aging parent or parents (or other relatives with senior status), you may apply.

Section 8 housing

This state-operated federal program provides rent subsidies to seniors, allowing those eligible to rent a home or apartment from a private owner. It’s not exclusive to the elderly, but since the program is in high demand, local agencies often institute their own rules to ensure those deemed in highest need will be served sooner. The elderly, the disabled and families with young children often rank among those given priority.

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