Housing Assistance for Seniors in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has the 7th highest percentage of seniors 50 years and above. This equates to 4 in 10 residents are above 50 years and the state median is 40.8 years ranked 8th in the country. The state average of household income for seniors above 65 years is ranked 38th and it stands at $40,083 which is lower than the national average of $43,735. The life expectancy is ranked 28th in the country and it stands at 79 slightly above the U.S. average of 78.5. The change in median age between 2010-2018 rose by 1.50% which is the slowest rate ranked at 41st in the country which has an average of 2.70% this indicates the median age has cooled down.

The housing index in the state of Pennsylvania is 96.60 this indicates is cheap to retire here and this is why: a one-bedroom apartment and a two-bedroom apartment average rent per month is $759 and $941 respectively compared to the US average of $825 and $1,027 per month respectively.

Housing Options

Independent Living communities offer seniors the opportunity to live independently in apartments or homes that are designed for their needs. These communities often have amenities such as fitness centers, pools, and social activities.

Assisted Living communities provide seniors with 24-hour care, including help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. These communities also offer amenities such as meals, transportation, and social activities. Assisted living average monthly cost is around $3,450.

Memory Care communities provide specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These communities have staff who are trained to understand and care for people with dementia.

Respite Care: Seniors who require temporary care due to illness, recovery from surgery, or when their regular caregivers need a break can consider respite care services. Monthly cost for respite care is between $6,960 to $19,575.

Memory Care Facilities specialize in providing care for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory-related conditions. The price ranges between $1,341 to $11,131 a month. Seniors who are terminally ill can take advantage of Hospice care for a monthly fee that ranges between $3,330 to $6,000.

Nursing Homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, are suitable for seniors with more complex medical needs. For 24/7 care and supervision seniors can stay in a nursing home in either a semi-private or private room at an average monthly cost of around $9,277 and $10,007 respectively.

Adult Day Care: For seniors who require daily supervision, the average cost of adult day care per month is $1,343.

Senior Apartments are age-restricted apartment complexes that cater specifically to seniors.

Veterans’ Housing: Pennsylvania has housing programs specifically designed for senior veterans.

State Housing Assistance

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) provides various programs to help Pennsylvanians access affordable housing. This includes rental assistance programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), which provides rental subsidies for eligible low-income individuals and families. PHFA also offers mortgage assistance programs, homebuyer education, and resources for first-time homebuyers.

Homeless Assistance Program: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) operates the Homeless Assistance Program, which provides emergency shelter and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The program aims to help individuals secure stable housing and access resources for long-term housing stability.

Pennsylvania Housing Counseling Services: Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) offers free housing counseling services to help individuals and families navigate the homebuying process, improve credit scores, avoid foreclosure, and make informed decisions about housing options.

HomeSafe Program is a foreclosure prevention program offered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. It provides financial assistance to eligible homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to circumstances beyond their control, such as job loss or medical emergencies.

Rent Assistance

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal program, administered by local public housing agencies (PHAs), provides rental subsidies to eligible low-income individuals and families, including seniors. Participants in the program typically contribute 30% of their income towards rent, while the remaining portion is covered by the voucher.

Housing Counseling Agencies: HUD-approved housing counseling agencies offer guidance and resources for seniors seeking rental assistance. These agencies can provide information on local rent assistance programs, affordable housing options, and budgeting tips.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a federal program that provides rental assistance to low-income households who have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BenefitsCheckUp provided by the National Council on Aging allows seniors to search for various benefits and assistance programs, including rent assistance, based on their location and personal circumstances.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) offices provides information and referrals to local resources that may include rental assistance programs for seniors. They can guide available programs and services in your community.

Senior-specific Housing Programs may be offered by local housing authorities, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. Examples include the Elderly Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Senior Housing Assistance Program (SHAP).

Senior Rental Subsidies: Certain states or municipalities offer rental subsidy programs specifically for seniors. These programs aim to provide affordable housing options and reduce the financial burden of rent.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs provide vouchers or subsidies to eligible individuals, allowing them to choose their rental housing in the private market.

Home Repair and Improvement Grants

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Whole-Home Repairs Program provides grants of up to $50,000 to low-income homeowners for home repairs.

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania offers grants of up to $2,500 for home repairs to low-income homeowners.

Habitat for Humanity offers grants of up to $5,000 for home repairs to low-income homeowners.

Pennies from Heaven organization offers grants of up to $1,000 for home repairs to low-income homeowners.

Weatherization Assistance Program: Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, this program helps low-income homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient. Eligible repairs may include insulation, air sealing, heating system repairs or upgrades, and other energy-saving measures.

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Renovate and Repair Program provides financial assistance to low-income homeowners for necessary repairs, including heating system repairs or replacements, electrical upgrades, plumbing repairs, and structural repairs. The program offers grants or low-interest loans based on income eligibility.

Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Grants program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides grants to low-income homeowners in rural areas to repair, improve, or modernize their homes. The grants are targeted at households with incomes below 50% of the area median income.

Rebuilding Together is a national non-profit organization that provides home repair services to low-income homeowners, including the elderly, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Rebuilding Together affiliates operate in various locations throughout Pennsylvania and offer assistance with critical home repairs and modifications.

Housing Assistance from Local Organizations and Charities

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) provides resources and assistance for affordable housing options in Pennsylvania.

Action Housing: is a non-profit organization that provides a range of housing services in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.

Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) – Pittsburgh is a program in Pittsburgh that provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and rapid rehousing assistance for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Family Promise of Montgomery County is a non-profit organization that assists families experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County.

Interfaith Hospitality Network operates in various locations in Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Reading.

Urban League of Philadelphia offers housing assistance programs, including rental assistance and supportive housing, to individuals and families in need.

Low-Interest Loans for Housing

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Home Improvement Loan Program offers low-interest loans to help homeowners make necessary repairs, renovations, or modifications to their homes.

Keystone Renovate and Repair Loan Program, offered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, provides low-interest loans to low- and moderate-income homeowners for home repairs and renovations

USDA Single-Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers low-interest loans to low-income homeowners in rural areas to repair, improve, or modernize their homes.

Local Banks and Credit Unions: Local banks and credit unions in Pennsylvania may offer low-interest home equity loans or lines of credit to qualified seniors.

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) offers low-interest loans to individuals with disabilities, including seniors, to finance the purchase of assistive technology devices or home modifications.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are financial institutions that provide loans and other financial services to underserved communities.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM): Also known as a reverse mortgage, a HECM allows eligible seniors to convert a portion of their home equity into loan proceeds.

Legal Assistance for Eviction

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is a statewide network of legal aid organizations that provide free or low-cost legal services to individuals with low income. They offer legal assistance in various areas, including eviction and housing matters. You can contact your local legal aid office affiliated with PLAN to inquire about their services and eligibility requirements.

Lawyer Referral Services: The Pennsylvania Bar Association operates lawyer referral services that can help connect individuals with attorneys who specialize in eviction defense. These services can provide referrals to lawyers who offer initial consultations at reduced rates or on a sliding scale based on income.

Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN) is a tenant advocacy organization that provides resources and assistance to tenants in Pennsylvania. While they may not offer direct legal representation, they can provide guidance, information, and referrals to legal services for eviction cases.

Law School Clinics: Some law schools in Pennsylvania have legal clinics that offer free or low-cost legal assistance to individuals facing eviction. These clinics are typically operated by law students under the supervision of experienced attorneys. Contact local law schools to inquire about the availability of eviction defense clinics.

County Bar Associations: Local County bar associations may provide resources and referrals to legal services for eviction cases. They may have pro bono programs or lawyer referral services that can help connect you with attorneys who can assist with eviction defense.

Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of senior housing and provides various avenues for seniors to access suitable and affordable living arrangements. Whether it’s through financial assistance programs, legal aid services, or community resources, seniors in Pennsylvania have options and support available to help them thrive and enjoy their golden years in a safe and comfortable environment. Feel free to check out Pennsylvania Department of Aging.