The “Golden Years” are sometimes anything but for seniors living on a fixed income and in need of a place to live. Unexpected circumstances and daily challenges can lead to housing instability and place a senior at risk of becoming homeless.
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i’s Housing Assistance Program* (HAP) helps seniors (age 60 and older) who live on O‘ahu avoid housing crisis and prepare for the future. HAP Housing Specialists offer housing counseling for seniors, providing information about rental housing options, eligibility requirements, how to apply and how to maintain wait list status. HAP also maintains the O‘ahu Housing Guide for the C&C Elderly Affairs Division: www.elderlyaffairs.com/site/449/publications.aspx#HG.
Here is some basic information for seniors seeking affordable rental options:
- What is affordable housing? Affordable housing is privately developed housing, usually built with government funds and operated by different housing management companies. Rents vary, with many projects having a limited number of units for very low income seniors who may pay as little as 30% of their income and remaining units for low income to moderate income seniors, with rents ranging around $440 to $950 (utilities\ not always included). Age eligibility for private affordable housing varies, 55 – 62 years old. Disabled, nonelderly may qualify at some projects.
- What is public housing? The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority is the State entity that manages public housing, including public senior housing. These projects are for low-income elderly and disabled individuals and rent is based on 30% of income. Age eligibility for public senior housing is 62 years old or disabled.
- Eligibility factors: Meeting the age eligibility is just the first step. All affordable/public projects have income limits and some projects have asset limits or minimum income requirements. Barriers for some projects could include credit history, criminal history, rental history, pets, personal vehicles, or inability to pay initial deposit.
- Wait lists: Most affordable and all public senior housing have wait lists. Wait lists vary from a few months to several years. With different management companies involved, the procedures to follow vary to stay on different wait lists and it’s possible your application can be removed without your knowledge because a step was missed — and you would have to start from scratch.
The HAP Housing Specialists are experts who can help you navigate a complex and competitive rental housing market. A housing counseling session can help identify projects that are best suited for you, give you opportunity to view the projects virtually (via computer), get assistance and advice to apply and maintain your wait list status. For seniors interested in market-based rentals, Housing Specialist can identify and explain search options to help navigate the rental market.
*The Housing Assistance Program is funded through the Older Americans Act, as administered by the Elderly Affairs Division, C&C of Honolulu.
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i Housing Assistance Program
808-527-4777 | www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org