If you’re looking for a new place to live, and you’re not quite ready to take the hint that it’s time to move out, if your finances just can’t handle the jump in rent, subsidized apartments might be an option.
Subsidized apartments are offered by real estate developers who work with local governments as part of their “open-market” rental programs so that older tenants can pay a lower price for living in a new development without having to worry about moving costs.
The good news is that these programs can help you get into a new place without having to pay a huge up-front rent or security deposit. The bad news is that it may be difficult to find subsidized apartments in your area, and you usually need to wait for at least six months before moving in.
But even if you do find a subsidized apartment in your area, there are drawbacks. Subsidized apartments are designed for one person and pets, so they’ll typically have smaller kitchens and baths than regular size units. They also may not have a washer and dryer.
Still, subsidized apartments are better than not having a place to live at all, especially if you’ve lost your job or have other problems that make it hard for you to find a new place. You might find that living in subsidized housing helps you save money over time because you don’t need to spend money on utilities if you don’t cook or use your own kitchen.
Besides, subsidized apartments are a great option for seniors because they can usually be purchased without any down payments; the rent is usually low enough that you don’t need to do any extra work to make ends meet; and they usually come with a transferable guarantee. The only real drawback to subsidized housing programs is that it typically takes six months or longer before you can move into the new place.
Before you start looking for subsidized apartments, talk with a local Realtor or contact your local housing authority to find out if they are working with development companies that offer subsidized housing. Also check your local public library’s resources for older adults and housing assistance, and ask your pastor or family doctor if they know of any sources of older adult housing.
Find out which companies build subsidized housing through the federal government’s Section 8 program. The federal government offers subsidies through Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (specifically 24 CFR part 888). If you qualify for subsidized housing, you’ll receive a certificate or voucher to use in any place where your voucher is accepted.
You might have heard of Section 8 but not realized that it’s based on location. That’s because the federal government says that Section 8 vouchers are only valid in designated areas, or locations, that have been officially declared eligible for the program. The areas are often referred to as “areas of economic need”.
This means that subsidized housing is limited to certain geographic areas where the government says there are high levels of poverty and a shortage of housing. But since Section 8 is based on need, you don’t have to be low-income or homeless to qualify for subsidized housing; you just have to be eligible for it.
The federal government first created the Section 8 program in 1968, but didn’t make it a permanent part of federal housing assistance until 1974. So even though many states have begun accepting Section 8 vouchers for permanent housing, some will only accept them for temporary or transitional housing.
Some states, like New York and Virginia, don’t participate at all in the Section 8 program because they offer their own incentives and are trying to reduce the amount of public assistance offered through Section 8.
To find out whether there is a Section 8 program in your area, you’ll need to contact your local housing agency or visit HUD’s website at www.hud.gov.