Use This Program To Find Affordable Senior Housing

Section 202 can put you or a loved one in a safe, senior-friendly apartment at a manageable monthly payment.

See what the program can offer, how to qualify for its benefits, and what’s needed to apply.

For many, income goes down as age goes up. Why? We stop working and enter the retired life so we can spend our final years on this earth relaxing and enjoying time with our friends and family.

While loads of free time as a senior is great, trying to stretch every dollar of a fixed income can get complicated. Cut your housing costs, however, and life becomes much more relaxed.

You could downgrade your current home to achieve this goal, or you could get help from the government to do so. Although Section 8 may be the first government housing program to come to mind, Section 202 may be a better fit, as it focuses on seniors.

What Section 202 Offers Seniors

If you want to pay as little as possible for rent, Section 202 can help. If you participate in the program, you will only have to put 30 percent of your income towards the rent. The program will take care of the rest, which gives you tons of flexibility in handling your savings.

Cheap rent may not be the only thing that’s on a senior’s mind, though, as the safety and accessibility of the apartment can be just as important, if not more. Some Section 202 properties address this issue with a host of features, such as ramps to make buildings and apartments wheelchair-accessible, plus grab rails.

Beyond the apartment itself, a senior in the Section 202 program can enjoy additional amenities like daily activities, help with transportation, meals, and bathing, plus on-site care coordinators.

Section 202 Eligibility Requirements and the Application Process

If Section 202’s features sound appealing, you’re probably wondering what it takes to get into one of its apartments. Your mileage may vary according to the property you apply for, but here are some standard requirements for the program:

  • At least one household member must be over 62.
  • Your household income must fall below 50 percent of the median income for the area where you intend to live (you’ll find income limits here).

Some landlords or management companies may require you to receive another form of government assistance to qualify. Again, this can vary according to location.

Although citizenship documentation won’t be checked, Section 202 applications do take into account your housing and criminal history. Specifically, housing history with the HUD will be checked to ensure you don’t have any debts with them. Any evictions from HUD property within the last five years or termination of assistance may disqualify you too.

As for your criminal history, arrests may not be an issue, but felony convictions for violence or drug-related offenses may lead to disqualification.

Even if you think you may not qualify for Section 202 housing assistance, contact your local housing agency. They can offer more information on the program and help you start the application process. Once you find a property that interests you, the application will be handled directly by the management company or landlord.

Natalia Stephens

Natalia crafts informative articles on many subjects that affect seniors' lives. With an eye on her own aging loved ones, her writing engages and resonates with younger and older adults alike. Her background includes a bachelor's degree in journalism and more than six years as a writer and researcher covering topics like retirement, senior care, and products for the elderly. She also writes about college, vocational training, and career planning.