Also known as the Bay State, Massachusetts is one of the most senior-friendly states in the USA. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 17.4% of the Massachusetts population is made up of older adults 65 years and over as of 2021. This number increased from 16.7% in 2020. Why is there an increase in the senior population in this state? Here are some things that attract retirees to stay in Massachusetts:
- Quality healthcare: Massachusetts is home to several world-class medical facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Seniors may be drawn to the state for its access to high-quality healthcare.
- Cultural attractions: Massachusetts has a rich cultural history, and many of its cities are home to museums, theaters, and other cultural institutions. Seniors who enjoy the arts may find Massachusetts to be a stimulating place to live.
- Education: Massachusetts is known for its excellent education system, with many top-ranked universities and colleges located in the state. Seniors who want to continue learning and pursuing intellectual interests may be drawn to Massachusetts for its educational opportunities.
- Outdoor activities: Massachusetts has a diverse landscape that includes beaches, mountains, forests, and other natural attractions. Seniors who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, or boating may find the state to be an ideal place to live.
- Social connections: Many seniors have family or friends who live in Massachusetts, and they may choose to relocate to be closer to loved ones. Additionally, the state has a large and active senior community, with many social clubs, organizations, and events geared specifically toward older adults.
Despite these some nice looking outcomes, expenses int his state can be a challenge for the elderly with a fixed income. The cost of living index of Massachusetts is 127.5, higher than the nation’s average. Housing cost of living in particular, is a nightmare, with the state’s housing cost of the living index being 175, significantly higher than the nation’s average.
The median cost of a home is $557,300, compared to the national average cost of $338,100. The average rent of a one-bedroom house is $1,740, while the nation’s average is $1,180. Renting a two-bedroom house in this state will cost you $2,140, which is $710 more than the nation’s average. Finally, the average cost of living in a nursing home is $12,810 monthly, depending on the location and services provided.
The state government and local authorities have programs and incentives that can help retirees take care of rent expenses and home repairs. This article will cover rent assistance provided by the state and other organizations, home repair grants, loans, and legal assistance in cases of eviction offered to the elderly in Massachusetts.
Housing Options for Seniors
The housing options available to seniors depending on their needs include:
- Independent living
- Assisted Living Facilities/ supportive housing
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC)
- Affordable housing
- Congregate Housing
For more information on housing options, visit the Massachusetts government website.
State Assistance for Housing in Massachusetts
The state has programs in place to help low and moderate-income households afford safe and decent housing. Some of them include:
State Public Housing: The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provides public housing to eligible seniors who meet certain income and asset requirements. Seniors who live in public housing pay rent based on their income and may be eligible for rental assistance.
Some of the programs under the state public housing programs include Elderly/handicapped Low-income housing, family low-income housing, special needs housing, and supportive senior housing initiative. MassAccess: MassAccess is a program that provides information and referral services to seniors and individuals with disabilities who need assistance with housing, transportation, and other support services.
The state of Massachusetts requires seniors seeking reverse mortgages to receive counseling from a HUD-approved counseling agency before they can obtain a reverse mortgage. This counseling can help seniors understand the costs and benefits of a reverse mortgage, as well as other housing options that may be available to them. The Emergency Housing Assistance Program program offers temporary and permanent shelter to seniors who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness.
Rental Assistance for Seniors
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program was created by the State Ethics Commission to provide temporary and permanent rental aid to low and moderate-income households. If you are finding paying rent to be a challenge, you can consider this program. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to low-income families, including seniors. Vouchers can be used to help pay for rental units in the private market, and the amount of assistance is based on the recipient’s income and family size.
Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) is a program that provides emergency rental and mortgage assistance to low-income households impacted by COVID-19. Eligible households may receive up to $10,000 in assistance to help with rental or mortgage payments. HomeBASE is a program that provides short-term financial assistance to families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The program can provide rental assistance, security deposits, and other support services. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that assists with home heating costs. Eligible seniors may receive a one-time payment to help with their heating bills during the winter months.
Home Repair Grants for Seniors
There are several financial aids you can receive to assist you to repair your home to get it up to code and standards. Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission provides financial assistance to eligible seniors who need home modifications due to a disability. Examples of modifications that may be covered include installing stair lifts or adding a wheelchair ramp. Massachusetts Weatherization Assistance Program provides free energy-efficient upgrades to eligible low-income households, including seniors, to help lower their energy bills and improve the comfort of their homes. Examples of upgrades that may be covered include insulation, weather stripping, and the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors.
NeighborWorks Housing Solutions offers emergency grants to fix critical home repairs that put one at risk of losing their home. Community Development Block Grants provide funding to municipalities for community development projects, including home repairs for low-income homeowners, including seniors. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds and repairs homes for low-income families, including seniors. The organization offers various programs, including home repair and home modification programs, that may be available to eligible seniors.
The Section 504 Home Repair Program: Seniors above 62 qualify for grants offered by this program given for the sole purpose of repairs and home improvements that enhance a home’s accessibility. The maximum grant amount awarded is $10,000. You are expected to live in the repaired house for at least 3 years after home improvements are done.
Housing Assistance from Local Organizations and Charities for Seniors
The local organizations assist low-income households with housing challenges.Mass Housing Partnership is a nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance and support to local affordable housing efforts across Massachusetts. They work with communities to create and preserve affordable housing opportunities, including those for seniors. Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc. provides a range of services to seniors in the Worcester area, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management, financial assistance, and other support services to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing.
Massachusetts has a network of local housing authorities that provide affordable housing options to low-income individuals and families, including seniors. These agencies typically offer public housing and Section 8 voucher programs, as well as other housing assistance programs. Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc. serves seniors in the Springfield area and provides a range of services, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing.
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services provides services to seniors in the Somerville and Cambridge areas, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing. Boston Senior Home Care provides a range of services to seniors in the Boston area, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing.
Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands serves seniors on Cape Cod and the Islands and provides a range of services, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing. Franklin County Home Care Corporation provides services to seniors in Franklin County, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing.
Greater Lynn Senior Services serves seniors in the Lynn area and provides a range of services, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing. North Shore Elder Services helps seniors on the North Shore of Massachusetts and provides a range of services, including housing assistance. They offer a housing stabilization program that provides case management and financial assistance to seniors who are at risk of losing their housing.
Low-interest Loans for Housing for Seniors
Here are low-interest loans you can apply for as a senior above 65, with no other means of obtaining funds and living in a household below the county’s very low-income limit:
Massachusetts Home Modification Loan Program provides low-interest loans to seniors and individuals with disabilities to help make modifications to their homes that will make them more accessible. Examples of modifications that may be covered include installing wheelchair ramps, widening doorways, and adding grab bars in bathrooms. The Section 504 Home Repair Program offers loans of up to $40,000 with a 1% interest rate for 20 years to low-income older citizens of Massachusetts.
MassHousing provides loans to the elderly of up to $50,000 over a repayment period ranging from 5 to 15 years. The loans have a fixed interest rate. Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) ONE Mortgage Program offers low-interest mortgages to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers, including seniors. The program requires a down payment of just 3% and offers fixed interest rates for up to 30 years.
Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) Home Improvement Loan Program provides low-interest loans to eligible homeowners to make repairs and improvements to their homes. The loan program offers a fixed interest rate of 5%, and loans may be repaid over up to 10 years. Mass Save HEAT Loan Program provides low-interest loans to homeowners who are making energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, such as installing insulation, weather-stripping, and efficient heating and cooling systems. The loan program offers a fixed interest rate of 0%, and loans may be repaid for up to 7 years.
USDA Rural Development Program provides low-interest loans and grants to eligible homeowners in rural areas to repair, improve, or modernize their homes. Eligibility requirements include having a low or very low income and owning and occupying the home. Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) Program provides rental and mortgage assistance to households impacted by COVID-19. Eligible households may receive up to $10,000 in assistance to help cover housing costs.
Legal Assistance for Eviction for Seniors
Programs available to seniors that may offer counsel, free law services, advocacy, and education when older adults are at risk of foreclosure and evictions are available.Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) is a statewide organization that provides funding to legal aid organizations to provide civil legal assistance to low-income residents, including seniors. MLAC-funded organizations may be able to assist seniors facing foreclosure or eviction.
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office provides resources and information on foreclosure prevention, as well as legal assistance through the HomeCorps program, which provides free legal representation to eligible homeowners facing foreclosure. Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association provides free legal assistance to low-income residents, including seniors, who are facing eviction. They may be able to provide legal representation or advice to help seniors stay in their homes.
Legal Advocacy and Resource Center (LARC) is a non-profit organization that provides legal services to low-income residents, including seniors. They may be able to provide legal advice or representation to seniors facing foreclosure or eviction. Massachusetts Senior Legal Helpline is a free legal assistance service for Massachusetts residents aged 60 and over. The helpline provides legal advice and referrals on a variety of issues, including housing and foreclosure.
For more information, you may visit the nearest Executive Office of Elderly Affairs in your city.