Locating Housing Opportunities
Besides food, housing is often too expensive to afford on your own. The following discusses the three basic types of government housing that may be available to you, all of which have stringent qualification standards.
To qualify, you usually have to be paying at least 50 percent of your household income in rent, or you are without a home at this time, or you live in housing that is of exceptionally poor quality (as in, condemned).
Even if you were to meet more than one of those three independent tests, waiting lists are very long because the demand exceeds the available apartments. Call the housing authority in your city or state (check the blue pages or government section of your local phone book) and ask how you can apply.
Public housing doesn't have the best reputation in the United States; with few exceptions, it consists of those enormous apartment buildings that are located in some of the most dangerous areas in U.S. cities, and it often has shot-out or otherwise broken windows, malfunctioning plumbing, and other unappealing features. (In smaller towns, they may be better maintained.)
If you qualify, however, you generally pay no more than 30 percent of your income in rent.
Section 8 Rental Certificates
Section 8 rental certificates are an interesting contrast to public housing because under this program, you choose where you want to live (from a long list of HUD-approved apartments) and, assuming you qualify, pay no more than 30 percent of your monthly income.
Section 202 Housing
Section 202 housing is for households with at least one very low-income senior citizen who is 62 or older. These facilities are not owned by the government; instead, they are private, nonprofit co-operatives.
These facilities often provide rooms for disabled seniors and offer meal-delivery services. They also tend to be located in high-quality buildings in safe areas and don't require the use of stairs. Because these facilities are small and often available in rural and suburban areas, seniors who qualify can live close to their relatives.