Section 202 housing is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in efforts to provide rent assistance and housing placement for low-income seniors. Depending on their health conditions, seniors are provided with housing options that allow them to live independently or with daily support services. These assisted living services include house cleaning, cooking and transportation.
There are a variety of senior apartments available that are designed specifically for sick and fragile seniors. These low-income senior living apartments contain special features, such as grab bars and wheelchair ramps. To be eligible, seniors must meet specific age and income requirements. The process of applying is simple but may require a wait time of up to a year. Once accepted, seniors are expected to pay a portion of their rent, and the program subsidizes the remaining balance. Review the following sections to learn more about Section 202, other resources for renters and how to apply.
How Section 202 Housing Works
Section 202 housing provides grants to non-profit organizations under Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRAC) to build and operate senior apartments. These interest-free capital advances and operating funds are distributed to private, non-profit organizations, typically faith-based and civic organizations, through a HUD Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).
While capital funding pays for the construction and rehabilitation of low-income housing, operating funds cover a facility’s operating expenses and the ability to provide rent assistance to qualifying seniors. As a result, seniors are expected to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income, as they would under Section 8 housing, as well as 10 percent of their monthly income toward rent, while their Section 202 housing vouchers cover the remaining cost of rent.
To qualify for Section 202 housing, a household must be composed of one or more seniors of at least 62 years of age. Furthermore, a household must have an adjusted income that is below 50 percent of the area’s median income. Senior living communities ask households a series of questions to define all sources of income, while determining the appropriate deductions and exclusions. This may include amounts received from Social Security, retirement funds and pensions. Exclusions from income may include the following:
- Income from employment of children younger than 18 years of age.
- Amounts received by family members for the purpose of medical expenses.
- Sporadic and non-recurring income, such as gifts.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotment provided to an eligible household member.
The program recommends that seniors check median income in their states to determine whether they are eligible. However, seniors will not be sure of eligibility until they apply at participating senior apartments. Currently, the average household income for eligible seniors is approximately $13,300. Furthermore, most residents in senior living are elderly women around 79 years of age. While there are no disability or health requirements, the program’s purpose is to benefit elderly individuals with physical challenges and in need of support with their daily living activities.
Section 202 Housing Amenities
While amenities and assisted living services vary by housing community, all senior apartments funded by HUD typically offer the same supportive features tailored to elderly individuals. Seniors can expect to live in one-bedroom apartments containing a bath and kitchen. Furthermore, these apartment buildings are equipped with assistance features, such as nonskid floors, grab bars, ramps and elevators where needed. There are also emergency features put into place, such as emergency call buttons and 24-hour personnel. Section 202 housing also generally includes services, such as transportation to health care appointments, housekeeping and home-delivered meals. Seniors in need of additional assistance may receive aid in dressing and bathing.
How to Apply for Section 202 Housing
To apply for Section 202 housing, you must find a participating senior living community that will accept your voucher. Simply contact the residence of your choice to ask or confirm whether it participates in the program or not. To narrow down your research, utilize the HUD’s low-income apartment search available online. The affordable apartment search will ask that you complete the following steps:
- Select your state
- Provide your city, county, ZIP code or name of the property
- Select an apartment type
- Specify your preferred number of bedrooms
The online system will then provide you with senior apartments that meet your search criteria. The search will list each property’s address and contact information so that you can make appointments to visit and compare several apartment listings. Once you have found the right apartment, you can inquire about availability and be put on a waiting list after meeting the requirements.
Maintaining Section 202 Housing
To maintain Section 202 housing, residents must follow all lease requirements and house rules dependent on their senior living community. Furthermore, residents must report all income and provide accurate family composition information. This means keeping copies of important forms, receipts and documents as proof of income and expenses.
Seniors must also report any changes to family composition and income as they occur between recertification periods. All assisted living tenants must complete recertification annually as requested by property owners to ensure that what they pay continues to correspond with what they are able to pay. If recertification is not processed within 15 months after a tenant’s recertification anniversary date, HUD will terminate the senior’s certification and assistance payments.
HUD’s Congregate Housing Service Program and Section 202 Housing
The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) offers grants to HUD senior housing programs, such as non-profit housing sponsors under Section 202 housing, to provide supportive services and hot meals to frail and disabled seniors. The purpose of the program is to prevent and prolong the institutionalization of low-income elderly individuals. To be more specific, the program strives to provide one hot meal every day in a family-style setting and additional funding to improve existing supportive systems.
This may include services like transportation, personal assistance and housekeeping. The program is considered a project-based program rather than tenant based, which provides rent assistance to qualifying seniors. While Section 202 provides both rental and supportive services, CHSP’s purpose is to provide additional funding to fulfill the needs of sick or fragile seniors.