Senior Housing Services FAQs

  1. What are the different income guideline requirements for HUD and USDA federal housing programs?
  2. While both HUD and USDA provide a variety of housing programs to low-income seniors and their families, each program may hold a different income guideline that must be met. These income guidelines will be listed in the program details as an extremely low income, very low income and low income. An extremely low income means that you must not make more than 30 percent of your area’s medium income levels. Very low requires you to not make more than 50 percent and low requires that you not earn no more than 80 percent of the medium area’s earnings. For comprehensive information, download our guide on housing options for seniors.

  3. What are the age requirements for HUD and USDA federal housing programs?
  4. Most of the senior citizen federal housing programs will require a senior to be at least 62 years of age, although there are some exceptions regarding disabled individuals. Additionally, families who are learning how to apply for a federal housing program must include a head of household, spouse or sole member who meets the age requirement for the program.

  5. What is Section 8 housing and how does it work?
  6. Section 8 housing provides housing vouchers to individuals who meet the criteria guidelines on family status, citizenship, income and eviction history. Those who are accepted into the program will receive aid in housing costs through participating public and private housing. Generally, Section 8 has a long waiting list and if you are eligible for Section 8, then you will still likely need to wait for assistance.

  7. Who do you contact if you feel that your housing disability rights have been violated?
  8. If you feel that your disability rights (related to housing) have been violated, then you will need to contact your local HUD office. Representatives can give you information on how to file a complaint with HUD to begin an investigation.

  9. How do you find assistance if you are homeless?
  10. HUD provides an abundance of resources to individuals and families who are homeless, soon to be homeless and those fleeing domestic violence. Resources include housing assistance, food assistance, health assistance, safety assistance and employment and job training. HUD provides a comprehensive list of local agencies that provide these resources. Download our free housing guide for detail information on qualifying for assistance programs for seniors.

  11. What is HUD-VASH?
  12. HUD-VASH is a housing assistance program for veterans, which is administered through the combined efforts of the HUD and the VA. Through HUD-VASH, veterans can gain supportive services such as rental assistance vouchers, mental health treatment, health care and substance abuse counseling. You can contact your local Department of Veterans Affairs or contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans in order to begin the application process.

  13. What facilities are available within a continuing care retirement community (CCRC)?
  14. Most CCRC campuses will include independent living units, assisted living facilities and nursing care facilities. Some continuing care retirement communities may require a health screening before a senior citizen can be placed within an independent living unit to ensure that they are well enough to meet complete daily tasks and personal care.

  15. What are the differences between these types of facilities?
  16. Independent living units include very little daily care or medical care assistance but provide a community to seniors. Assisted living facilities aid in daily tasks as well as services such as housekeeping. Nursing care facilities are designed for senior citizens who need around the clock medical assistance and a greater level of care.

  17. Does continuing care retirement communities allow spouse’s to live together?
  18. Many will allow spouses to live together within independent dwelling units even if one spouse requires some medical care, although the individual retirement community determines this. It is recommended that you ask the continuing care retirement community that you are interested in if this is something it allows and if there are additional requirements for it.

  19. How much does a continuing care retirement community cost?
  20. Senior citizens can expect to pay both an entrance fee and a monthly maintenance fee for a retirement community. Entrance fees can easily be the most expensive fee, as entrance fees can range between a few thousand dollars and one million dollars. Monthly maintenance fees are generally a few thousand dollars but some health insurance plans may pay for a portion of the monthly maintenance fee costs.

  21. Are these fees refundable under any circumstances?
  22. In some cases, the entrance fee may be partially refundable if a resident either leaves the community or passes, depending on the amount of time that he or she had lived within the facility. In some cases, entrance fees are partially refundable if the entrance fee did not equal or was not greater to the total amount of monthly maintenance fees that were paid. Monthly maintenance fees are nonrefundable.

  23. What is the difference between these facilities and senior apartments?
  24. Senior apartments are often designed to provide senior citizens with a community and low-cost, low-maintenance lifestyle. Senior apartments do not usually include any kind of additional care or medical services. Residents are expected to live completely independently and amenities may be similar to that of a normal apartment complex. Senior apartments can include apartment style complexes, townhouses, condos and more.

  25. What determines the cost of a senior apartment?
  26. Senior apartments are generally associated with a lower cost than apartments that are not dedicated to seniors and senior apartments tend to be a much more inexpensive option in comparison to continuing care retirement communities, including independent living, assisted living and nursing care facility options. Additionally, some senior apartments are reserved for low-income senior citizens, providing a rental rate that has been reduced even further.