Understand Rental Options: Independent Living
According to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), a person can rent an apartment either at the market rate or, if his or her income level applies, a lower rate. These apartments are often designed with seniors in mind. For example, there may be railings in bathrooms or power outlets higher up on the wall. Many communities also offer a 24-hour emergency call service and some may also provide different kinds of services such as meals, transportation, social activities and other programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds several rental assistance programs for seniors who qualify. These programs include public housing, or low-income housing that is owned and operated by a local housing authority. To apply for public housing or Section 8 certificates or vouchers, you must go to your housing authority. Each housing authority has a system for accepting applications. Their representatives can explain their system and how to find an available apartment.
HUD’s Section 202 program includes apartments 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, a person will have to visit the management office for each community. Contact your local HUD office to get a list of privately-owned communities near you.