What To Do When Denied Low Income Senior Housing

If you are denied low income senior housing, you may feel like you are out of options. However, there still may be something you can do.

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If you are denied low income senior housing, you may feel like you are out of options. However, there still may be something you can do.

It is important to know what types of things will disqualify you from different programs and which ones you can appeal denial for. You should also know how to proceed with the appeals process for those programs that must hear your appeal.

If the denial comes from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program or Public Housing program, they have to hear your appeal. Other programs, like the LIHTC and Supportive Housing, do not have to hear your appeal, but you may be able to apply to a different program.

The information provided in this article comes from HUD.gov and is up to date as of March 2021. In addition, I compiled a spreadsheet of the HUD field offices in each state. You may also want to check with your local housing authority to see if there are additional options after you get denied from a federal low income senior housing program.

Table of Contents

What Can Disqualify Me From Low Income Housing for Seniors?

There are a lot of things that may disqualify you for receiving assistance from the government when it comes to senior low income housing. The disqualifiers depend largely on the program that you apply for.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

This program involves investors and developers who will get tax credits in return for building or buying housing made for low income seniors. Since this program runs on tax credits, it is regulated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The income qualifications depend on the specific community and area that you reside in. Generally, the income requirement is capped at 60% of the Area Median Income. Furthermore, this amount does increase for each additional member of your household.

Your gross annual income will be used to see if  you qualify for LIHTC. The amount used is the total income for the entire household, not just one member of the home. Additionally, no income adjustments, such as child care or medical expenses, will be used in the qualification process.

Also, a lot of the LIHTC communities and properties will have their own income limit requirements. Some may be set at 50 percent, 40 percent, or even 30 percent of the Area Median Income. This is why it is important to ask the specific property that you apply for what their income requirements are because this could be a reason that you are denied the low income senior housing.

In addition to meeting the income requirements, you have to meet the age requirement of the community or property. Again, each affordable senior living community will have their own set of eligibility requirements. Typically, there will be a minimum age requirement. This requirement is usually somewhere between the ages of 55 and 62.

There are some other common reasons that you may be denied LIHTC. One of these reasons is poor credit. You will not have to have good credit in order to be eligible, but poor credit could be a reason for disqualification. These decisions are made by the property or community and will largely depend on the area and owner standards.

Your rental history may also play a role in your approval or denial for LIHTC. You may have to submit a list of previous landlords. The property manager or owner of the LIHTC property may contact your prior landlords and a poor track record could cause you to be denied.

People are also frequently denied LIHTC for having a criminal record. However, it is important to note that a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you. If you have a felony, you will have a more difficult time getting approved than someone who has a misdemeanor or clean criminal record. Furthermore, if you are on any state lifetime sex offeder regisrties, you will be automatically disqualified.

If you have been evicted from federal assisted housing in the previous three years for any drug-related activity, you will have to meet an additional requirement to avoid denial. You must complete a supervised drug rehabilitation program that is approved by the housing authority.

All of this may make it tempting for you to lie on your application for LIHTC low income senior housing, but that too can get you denied automatically. In addition, lying on your application could even result in charges for perjury.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees and regulates the Section 8 program. The housing in this program is privately owned and not specifically for seniors. The program gives housing vouchers to those who qualify. There are some simple things that can result in an automatic denial.

For the age requirement, you just have to have at least one person in the household over the age of 62. The income limits for Section 8 are set at three different tiers. The first is low income which is set at 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The second is very low income which is 50 percent of the Area Median Income. The third tier is extremely low income which is defined as 30 percent of the Area Median Income. However, income limits are adjusted for household size.

For Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, you have to be a citizen of the United States or documentation for eligible immigrant status. To check this requirement, you will have to sign a declaration that states that every member of your household or family is an American citizen. Sometimes, the public housing authority will also further verify the citizenship of you and other members of the household by asking for passports, social security cards, or additional documentation.

Another qualification for Section 8 relates to your prior evictions and rental history. If you have been evicted from a property in the last three years for any criminal activity related to drugs, then you are automatically denied housing vouchers. Additionally, if you have ever been convicted of methamphetamine production in assisted housing, you are automatically disqualified.

Section 202

To qualify for section 202, at least one member of the household has to be 62 years of age or older. The entire household also has to make less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income or, for some properties that are built after 2012, the limit is 30 percent of the Area Median Income.

These income limits do increase for additional members of the household and the income is determined using net income so that taxes and other possible expenses will not be counted. Furthermore, housing offices are allowed to set their own income limits. You should always confirm the income limits with the housing office because this may be one of the reasons someone is denied low income senior housing.

You may have to submit a list of previous landlords and the owner or property manager may contact them for reference.  A poor rental or eviction history may result in denial for Section 202.

A criminal record will not automatically result in a denial, but it can make it more difficult to be approved. Felons will have a more difficult time getting approved than those with misdemeanors or clean criminal records. Also, if you have a history of violence, drug use, or alcohol abuse you may have a more difficult time getting approved.

Each housing authority will have different qualifications related to criminal record and activity. However, anyone of a state lifetime sesc offender registry will be automatically denied. Also, if you have been evicted from federal assisted housing in the previous 3 years for drug related activity then you will be denied unless you complete a supervised drug rehabilitation program that is approved by the housing authority. As with any federal documentation, you will be automatically denied for lying on the application and can result in legal trouble.

How to Appeal a Denial for Low Income Senior Housing?

If you are denied housing assistance the owner or public housing authority is required to send you written notice that includes the reason for denial. It is supposed to be specific for the reasoning behind the denial as well as steps for how to appeal the denial decision. If the letter was not specific about the decision you should contact the housing provider for qualification.

Not every housing provider is required to hear appeals after denial. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and Public Housing are required to hear your appeal. Supportive Housing and LIHTC are not required to hear your appeal, but you can still attempt an appeal.

If you are denied HUD housing, then you have the right to review the decision which is also known as a grievance, informal review, informal hearing, or even a meeting. Typically, this is informal but does involve a hearing officer who did not make the initial decision for denial.

For HUD programs, the housing authority or the owner have the burden of proof. This means that they will have to show the specifics for the denial whether that be criminal record, falsifying information, income, age, or some other reason.

However, you have to prove that anything the housing authority or owner presents is inaccurate or that there are mitigating circumstances. These circumstances could be commitment to rehabilitation, change in citizenship, change in marital status, steady employment, involvement with social service programs, or any other relevant information. You can hire legal counsel for this process who can bring in witnesses to speak on your behalf.


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