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Section 8 Housing
Can Section 8 Housing be Used for Assisted Living?

Section 8 Housing is the federal (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) government's program offers housing for Americans living in poverty such as,

  • low-income families,
  • elderly,
  • persons with disabilities.

The program allows people to rent safe, decent, affordable housing in a community. The official name is Housing Choice Vouchers Program.

Local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) or the local municipal public housing agencies administer the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). The Section 8 program provides rental assistance only. Although Section 8 vouchers apply for payment to assisted living facilities, they cannot pay for meals or services. Find the local agencies in your state and community for Section 8 housing.

An individual must quality for the program.

Under the Section 8 Housing Vouchers, recipients receive a voucher to use to rent suitable private housing from a landlord who participates in the Section 8 program. As mentioned above, it pays for room only, not food and services.

Senior Housing
Senior Housing

Types of Housing Choice Vouchers

There are tenant-based and project-based section 8 housing vouchers.

Tenant-based vouchers issued to individuals who qualify financially. They are portable and used towards rent of an approved housing unit within a community.

Project-based vouchers issued to a specific housing unit or facility. They're fixed and remain with the facility even if the tenant or resident leaves.

Senior Housing Facilities that Accept Section 8

Senior housing facilities that accept Section 8 vouchers receive annual inspections by the issuing local Public Housing Authority (PHA) and enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. They're licensed and regulated by the state (if there is no state law providing licensing and regulation, by the municipality or other subdivision in which the facility's located). The housing accommodates elderly residents who need assistance with activities of daily living in order to live independently.

The PHA reimbursement rate is equal to the difference in the Fair Market Rent and the resident's rent obligation. The Fair Market Rent adjusts annually.

The resident's rent obligation is equal to 30% of her adjusted gross income.

Resident Eligibility

Residents are eligible for Section 8 vouchers if their income is at or below 50% of the Area Median Income of a community. For information, go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development or contact your local housing authority.

The demand for Section 8 assistance is greater than the supply of vouchers, and the waiting lists are long in most areas of the country. In some cases, individuals and families wait for many months, or even years, before receiving a voucher.

Due to the overwhelming demand for vouchers, the local housing assistance agencies in each community establish their own priority rules, based on local policies and conditions, to decide which categories of families on the waiting list, such as the elderly, disabled, or families with young children, will receive rent vouchers first.

Elderly Persons Eligibility

Resident Eligibility for assisted living

Eligible residents must meet the admissions/discharge requirements as established for assisted living by the state and local licensing, or HUD frailty requirements under 24 CFR891.205 if more stringent. The residents must live independently but can have some needs for assistance with activities of daily living (e.g., assistance with eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and home management activities).

The Elderly Resident's Rights

The resident has the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. This includes the right to expect equal professional service, the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices, no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing, no discrimination in the pricing or financing of housing, reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities, and are free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.

What Facilities Accept Section 8?

For more information about the Section 8 housing assistance available for seniors in your area, contact your State Office for the Aging.

How to Apply for Section 8 Vouchers

Contact the senior housing community you're interested in to find out if they accept Section 8 subsidies. Locate the senior housing by state.

Applicants must submit an application for funding, in response to the Notice of Funding Availability published in the Federal Register each fiscal year that funds are available.

During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. The PHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment

If the PHA determines that you are eligible, the PHA will put your name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your name reaches the next in line on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you and issue to you a housing voucher.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.