Seniors with low incomes can find Section 8 apartments through the federal housing choice voucher program or public housing program, reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local public housing agencies handle applications for both programs.
The housing choice voucher program allows low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children to choose their own housing in the private sector with assistance from a local public housing agency, according to HUD. Once seniors receive vouchers under the program, they can find apartments in the units of any landlord who is willing to participate in the program. After the senior finds accommodation, the public housing agency inspects it to be sure it complies with health and safety standards and then signs a contract with the landlord for a portion of the rent. The senior must sign a separate lease for the balance of the rent. Under the public housing program, the local public housing agency directly manages and rents out accommodation such as apartment units for low-income elderly.
When applying for either the housing choice voucher program or the public housing program, seniors must prove that their income does not exceed qualifying limits, explains HUD. The public housing agency interviews them and examines documents with information on their income, assets and the composition of their families. Because of the abundance of applicants, there are often long waiting lists for both programs. Local public housing agencies often give preference to those with the greatest housing needs such as the homeless and people living in substandard housing.