Many seniors live on a limited income and have to make their monthly budget stretch to pay for things like food, clothes, health care, and housing expenses. The cost of living in San Diego is a little higher than other places and this includes rent and mortgages. If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet and stay in your home, you’re not alone and there might be some help. Even if you don’t think you are a low-income household, your income level might be low enough that you can apply for affordable housing or get help to stay in your current home.
Low-income differs from city to city because the Housing and Urban Development department calculates the threshold each year based on the median income for the area. There are three different categories of low-income and for the 2016 fiscal year in San Diego, a one-person home whose income is $29,750 meets the very low-income threshold. Being in the very low-income category means that you are bringing in 50% of the median income for the area and you’re also eligible to apply for affordable housing programs.
Applying for public housing or Section 8 housing is a long process and typically there are long waitlists, which we’ll get to a little later. However, there are other programs out there that can help you find housing that you can afford or provide rental assistance.
In 2011, 3.9 million elderly adults needed housing assistance in the US but there were only 1.4 million seniors who received assistance.
39% of the California population that gets federal rental assistance are the elderly.
299,730 households in California get help through housing choice vouchers, 100,522 get help through Section 8 housing and 36,551 get help through public housing.
More than 1.5 million people in California pay more than half their income on housing and 35% are elderly.
Over $290,000 in grants for housing were awarded to seniors in San Diego County.
There are a few different groups that handle housing in San Diego and the surrounding areas. Housing is either handled through the government, or through privately funded organizations. Depending on your needs, you can choose either path or a combination of both funding sources.
The County of San Diego Housing and Community Development acts as the San Diego Housing Authority for the entire county. They work to provide affordable housing for their residents as well as work with property owners to make their units more cost-friendly for low-income residents. Through their site, you can apply for rental assistance and download their housing resource directory that can help you find applications for public housing and other affordable housing options.
The San Diego Housing Commission works in conjunction with the Housing and Community Development office and owns 2,221 affordable housing units. You can apply for rental assistance through the housing commission and view all the maps for the affordable housing developments. They do have senior-specific units, but there is a waitlist for all public housing at this time.
There are also plenty of other organizations in the area that can help seniors find affordable housing. The San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation builds and runs affordable housing developments in San Diego and have senior-specific communities that you can apply for. At each of the senior housing developments, they offer senior services that provide meals, counseling, transportation, and other needs.
Serving Seniors is another group that runs an affordable senior living community in San Diego. At this residence, rent is offered at a much lower rate and you can find services like nutritious meals, mental health screenings, group counseling, and access to a registered nurse.
Seniors have access to a variety of programs that can help them find affordable rents, affordable housing, or even help them make their current home more accessible with little to no cost to them.
2-1-1 San Diego has a resource page that links to various housing assistance programs in the city. You can find home repairs, housing expense assistance, counseling, and many other services that can help you find a home. Access to Independence is a federally funded center for independent living. They have three locations, with one in San Diego, and they offer different senior services. One of their services is to help seniors find housing and get information on adapting their current house to their needs.
The Housing and Urban Development website can also be a very good tool when searching for affordable housing. They have a list of approved counseling agencies in the area like Community Housing Works, and you can also visit each state’s resource page to look for HUD-approved homes for sale as well as housing counselors.
Find assisted living in San Diego near you.