How Can I Get Into a Low Income Apartment Fast?

Seniors often live on a fixed, limited income. Sometimes this is not enough to meet all of your needs and you need to find affordable housing fast.

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Seniors often live on a fixed, limited income. Sometimes this is not enough to meet all of your needs and you need to find affordable housing fast.

This article will cover several different programs that you can use to find a low income apartment fast. Some options are faster than others, but all of them have potential. It will also cover the ways to apply for these programs.

Low-income seniors may be eligible for emergency section 8 housing vouchers that are given almost immediately. You may want to check Section 202 as well. Housing for Homeless programs are also available for emergency housing. Veterans may have assistance available. Finally, there is the HOPE for Elderly Independence program.

The information in this article comes from the Social Security Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Also, here is a spreadsheet that gives information so that you can contact the nearest HUD office for questions or more information.

Table of Contents

Emergency Section 8 Housing

The Section 8 Housing Program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. It is facilitated at the state level and helps low income people, including seniors, who need assistance with rent or housing accommodations.

The housing for the Section 8 program is privately owned and qualified applicants are given housing vouchers that help them pay for rent and necessary utilities. Typically, a person who is accepted into the program will pay 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income towards rent and then the voucher will pay most or all of the remainder.

There is often a long waiting list for the Section 8 program that many people cannot wait for. This waiting list may be multiple years long. However, there is Emergency Section 8 Housing for those who need to quickly find low-income apartments.

Emergency Section 8 Housing is also called the Priority Waiting List which is an expedited application process that helps people get into a low income apartment fast. This is especially good for those people that live in larger cities because the demand for Section 8 assistance is typically much larger which makes the waiting lists much longer.

For some people, instead of waiting years to receive help from Section 8, you may only have to wait months or even weeks to receive housing vouchers. However, there are strict guidelines for expedited, emergency assistance. Senior citizens, veterans, and disabled people are some of the more likely recipients of Emergency Section 8 Housing Vouchers. This is especially true if you are facing eviction from public housing, are currently homeless, or have lost your home due to a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or fire.

The program will determine your qualification needs based on a point scale. The more points on your application, the more likely you will be placed on the priority list and the higher on that list you may be placed. This means that you will receive assistance faster. HUD prefers to provide emergency assistance to seniors that are very low income or disabled.

To be considered for the emergency housing voucher, you will have to apply in the standard manner. To do this, you need to find a local Public Housing Authority or call the nearest HUD office. Once you locate the necessary agency, you can go to it in order to fill out the application.

You will have to pass a criminal background check and meet some additional criteria in order to qualify for Section 8 as well. First, you have to have low income which is defined as under 50 percent of the state median income guidelines. You will also have to show identification and proof of income.

The application will ask you to provide any special circumstances. These may contribute to your ability to receive emergency assistance. Special circumstances include things like homelessness, loss of home, eviction, disability, and age.

After you submit the application, it is a good idea to speak with someone at the Public Housing Authority office. Then, you can call them once a week to remind them about your case, especially regarding special circumstances. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to call them. You will not be a bother and they will most likely be happy to help you. If you never speak to someone, nobody will know and care about your case in particular. This may help you more than you realize.

Section 202

Section 202 is a great program for frail and limited mobility seniors, especially those that have limited, low income. This program may not be the fastest opportunity, but you may receive assistance within a year.

This program provides necessary services to low income seniors such as cleaning, cooking, and transportation. HUD provides the financial backing for this program to private organizations, non-profits, and properties.

In order to qualify for Section 202, you have to be at least 62 years old. You also have to be very low income. Very low income is typically defined as 50 percent of the area’s average income. This means you have to make half as much as the average income in your area. This is usually around 10 thousand annually.

The Section 202 program may also consider applicants who currently live in substandard housing or people who have been involuntarily displaced due to disaster or eviction. These things may also help you receive assistance faster. They may also consider you if you are paying over 50 percent of your monthly income towards rent.

Housing for Homeless Programs

These types of programs, as the name suggests, are for those who are already homeless or will be very soon. If you are a low income senior who is homeless and having a difficult time finding housing, then you may qualify.

There are different programs provided for by state and local agencies as well as non-profits. They provide emergency assistance to the people that really need it. The authority that is responsible for the program will manage the application process. You will have to provide the necessary information and they may also check your records in order to provide emergency assistance.

Veterans Program

If you are a senior who is also a veteran, you may qualify for additional assistance provided by HUD and the VA. Veteran programs can provide emergency assistance to those who desperately need it. This is especially true if you became disabled by your service in the military.

The VA has many different services that can help you out including free health care and dental care for some qualifying members. They can also help you find additional housing resources in your community. You can contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans any day, any time at 877-424-3838.


The HOPE for Elderly Independence program combines rental assistance with other supportive services. This program is designed to help low income, frail, elderly people stay in an independent living environment. This program is only available in certain locations around the United States that have kept it funded.

To qualify for this program, you will have to have an income that is less than 50 percent of the area’s average income. You will also have to either reside in, or be willing to move to an apartment or house that meets the Section 8 program standards. Finally, you will have to be at least 62 years old. To learn more about this program you will have to contact your local public housing agency.

Transitional Housing

You may also want to check for transitional housing if you have recently been displaced from your home. This could be due to eviction, tornados, earthquakes, fires, or hurricanes. This is for those who require emergency housing but do not have the resources or income to find it on their own. There are transitional housing programs in every state. The VA may also have additional services and housing available if you are a veteran who has been recently displaced.

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