Senior Resources » 3 Ways HUD Helps Seniors Find Affordable Housing

3 Ways HUD Helps Seniors Find Affordable Housing

Living on a fixed income can be difficult. Finding affordable housing can make it even more difficult. If you’re a senior struggling to pay the bills or looking for a more thrifty living plan, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has you covered. Here are the top three programs HUD offers that all aging adults should be familiar with!

senior couple in front of home

Housing Choice Voucher Program

Formerly referred to as Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher Program allows low-income families or individuals “to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable” homes. Local public housing agencies (PHAs) manage the approval and issue of vouchers.

How does it work? Think of vouchers as a coupon of sorts. PHAs get funding from HUD. The funding is your voucher. When you use the vouchers, a subsidy is paid to your landlord directly (by your local PHA). Then, you’re responsible to pay the difference.


How do you qualify? A household income cannot exceed 50% of the median income for the area in which you live. Your local PHA will need info and documentation on things like assets and bank accounts before determining eligibility.

Other considerations: Waiting periods can be common. If you live in an especially populous area, you should probably expect to be put on a waiting list. Also, it is possible to stay in the voucher program and move from one home to another.

For more information: Find your local PHA.

Section 202 Supportive Housing For The Elderly Program

Section 202 is a federally funded program that provides “direct loans and capital advances to nonprofit entities” to build housing for low-income seniors. This HUD program’s focus is on providing seniors with plenty of options for independent living and ADL support.


How does it work? Private, nonprofit companies apply for 202 funding for construction and other costs associated with building their senior facility. Once the facility is open for business, qualifying seniors can rent units. Residents pay 30% of their income toward rent.

How do you qualify? To live in a Section 202-funded home, you must be 62 or older and have a verified low income.

Other considerations: Area media income limits vary by location, so check HUD resources first. Waiting lists are also common with these types of housing.

For more information: Read more from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Public Housing

HUD public housing “was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.” It’s basically housing that’s available for lower rates, based on the renter’s income.


How does it work? PHAs, with funding from HUD, own properties. The PHA acts as your landlord.

How do you qualify? Low income must first be verified. Depending on your location, the limit might be set at 80% (or even 50%) of the median area income. To apply, contact your local housing agency.

Other considerations: These are rentals, so, you will be signing a lease and rental agreement. Also, waiting lists are common.

For more information: HUD can help you find apartments, here.

If You’re Looking For Senior Housing…

woman holding magnifying glass searching for HUD housing

Check out these other resources on senior housing and senior living:

HUD Office of Manufactured Housing Programs Homepage

Long-Term Care Insurance Basics

Senior Housing Homepage


Senior Resource Glossary of Retirement Community Terms

Then, check out these resources on finance:

Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch

The Ultimate Will and Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide

And, finally, a few government resources:

The Fair Housing Act: Housing for Older Persons


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Originally published March 24, 2022


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