The idea of retirement is not one that comes naturally to many people. It’s an old expression for the end of life, and can feel like a foreboding destination. However, there are ways to enjoy retirement even if you don’t have much money saved up for it, and that’s where subsidized housing comes in.
What is Subsidized Housing?
Subsidized housing is a type of low-income or subsidized housing where the government helps to pay some or all of your rent. It might come as part of a government program, such as Section 8 housing. Or it might be provided directly by the government, like public housing. These homes are run by private landlords and co-ops, but available only to people who meet certain criteria for admission. Since most income for retirement years comes from Social Security alone, there are many options for subsidized rent rates on public and private buildings across the nation.
How does it work?
Subsidized housing is a rental agreement for a property paying less than market rate. Most people have to meet certain income requirements to qualify for subsidized housing. For example, if you earn $1,400 per month, you may only be able to pay $600 in rent per month. The other $800 would be paid through the subsidy program on your behalf. This makes it easier for you as an individual or couple to afford the rent on a place that is normally out of your price range.
How much do I have to pay?
In order to qualify for subsidized housing you must meet certain income guidelines. This can vary by state and county, and the amount of the subsidy is dependent upon the total family income. However, it is based on each individual’s earnings separate from others in your household. In many states, if you make less than 50% of that county or state’s median income you may qualify for some form of subsidized housing. If you are single and making less than $16,000 annually or a couple making under $20,000 together, then you are likely eligible for some type of subsidized housing assistance.
What about payments other than rent?
A few states have programs for assisting with utility costs, such as electric and water. Some state subsidized housing plans have provisions for health insurance as well. Most state programs only cover the mortgage portion of the rent, which means you will be responsible to pay for everything else. This includes: taxes and mortgage insurance, property insurance (if required), utilities, and even incidentals like home repairs and maintenance. Most states provide rental assistance that can be used towards the purchase of appliances or household items as well. Just be sure to ask your case worker if they will cover these expenses.
What do I need to apply?
In general, you will need several documents in order to apply for subsidized housing. You will need proof of identification, such as a valid driver’s license or state ID. Most programs also require that you provide a photo of yourself, like a passport photo or school picture. You may also be asked for proof of your income from recent pay stubs or tax returns. Depending on the program, you may need to provide documentation from Social Security showing your benefits and any other income that qualifies you for subsidies in the first place. You will also need to provide proof of residency, such as a utility bill or lease agreement. Finally, you will need a bank statement or other proof that you can afford to make rent payments.
What are the benefits of subsidized housing?
There are several benefits to getting subsidized housing if it fits within your budget. First, you have a place to live that is stable and affordable. You have somewhere stable and safe for yourself and your family or friends. Second, you don’t have the stress of trying to find affordable rental units all over town and compete with everyone else who needs them as well. You may only get one chance at getting into one of these programs so it is important to make sure everything is in order before applying.