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Low-Income Senior Housing in NYC: Programs and Eligibility Requirements

Growing old comes with a decrease in income and an increase in financial burdens like medical bills and dependents’ college tuition. In recent years, poverty amongst senior citizens has been on the rise. According to the National Council on Aging, as of 2021, approximately 10.3% of senior citizens live below the poverty line. 

Luckily, if you or a senior loved one is a low-income New Yorker, there are programs available to match you or them with affordable, comfortable housing. Below is a breakdown on the best available affordable senior housing options and who’s eligible.

Key Takeaways

  • The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC) Enriched Housing Program provides subsidized assisted living services to low-income New Yorkers over 65.
  • NYFSC’s Home Sharing Program matches hosts with adult guest tenants (at least one of the pair must be over 60). This mutually beneficial living arrangement provides both parties with subsidized housing costs as well as a companion.
  • NYFSC’s Affordable Housing Program lets seniors “age in place” in affordable, comfortable apartments across the city (and 30-40% of beneficiaries also receive the assisted living benefits of the Enriched Housing Program).
  • The Mitchell-Lama Program provides affordable housing for NYC’s middle class. Applicants apply via lottery and are added to a waiting list to receive a subsidized rental or co-op in one of New York City’s five boroughs.

Low Income Senior Housing Programs in NYC

Each of the programs listed below provides subsidized housing for low and/or middle income senior citizens and their families in New York City. The program you apply for depends on your income and needs (i.e., you might require assisted living services). Read on to find out which program is right for you and how to begin the application process.

Enriched Housing Program

NYC’s Enriched Housing Program is an excellent low-income housing option for older New Yorkers who are functionally impaired but don’t require full-time care. This subsidized assisted living retirement community offers helpful amenities and a vibrant social scene.

What Is NYC’s Enriched Housing Program?

The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC)’s Enriched Housing Program provides subsidized assisted living communities for senior New Yorkers in seven buildings across the city under contract with the New York State Department of Health. 

A perfect option for low-income families, each of the seven Enriched Housing buildings is designed to feel like a true community for older adults with vibrant social scenes and ample opportunities to interact with other residents. 

Residents also receive on-site assistance with personal hygiene, shopping, preparing meals, housekeeping, medical appointments, laundry, and other personal needs. The first program of its kind in Manhattan and the fourth in New York State, the NYFSC Enriched Housing Program has been serving New York’s senior population since 1979. 

The provided studio and one-bedroom senior apartments are primarily located at River View Gardens in Long Island City, Queens. In addition to a private kitchen and bathroom, all residents also have access to community dining and socialization spaces. Residents even receive one hot meal daily and can work with a dietitian to create a menu plan.

Who Qualifies for NYC’s Enriched Housing Program?

Applicants to the Enriched Housing Program must be 65 or older. They must also be functionally impaired but not require full-time care or a skilled nurse on hand. This means that they may need help shopping and/or cooking but are able to feed themselves and/or may need help getting into/out of the shower or tub but are able to bathe themselves.

Single applicants cannot have an annual income exceeding $39,800; couples must not have a combined annual income exceeding $45,500. The application can be found here.

Home Sharing

Home Sharing connects hosts and guests (one of whom must be a senior citizen) in shared living arrangements. The guest stays in a private space in the host’s home.

What Is NYC’s Home Sharing Program?

NYC’s Home Sharing program matches guests with hosts who have extra space in their home. Either the guest or the host must be 60 years of age or older, and the program also serves hosts 55 and over who are interested in being matched with a developmentally disabled adult guest capable of independent living. 

The program is free of charge aside from a mutually agreed upon arrangement to pay for regular household expenses. Guests may pay a subsidized rent or opt to pay little to no rent in exchange for social services like household chores. Hosts and guests are screened by a staff of social workers before inputting their 31 “lifestyle objectives” into the unique QUICK-MATCH database. 

Once matched by the database, the host/guest pair attends a series of “match meetings” before moving in together. This system provides financial relief as well as companionship for both parties involved.

Who Qualifies for NYC’s Home Sharing Program?

Prospective hosts and guests must be at least 18 years old, and one of the host/guest pairs must be at least 60 years old. Hosts must rent or own a home in one of New York City’s five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island) and be willing to share their home with one or more compatible people. 

Hosts’ homes must be appropriate and safe for guests, and guests must be capable of independent living. Both parties must be willing to make reasonable social and financial arrangements. Hosts can apply here; guests can apply here.

Affordable Housing

NYFSC’s Affordable Housing Program provides subsidized housing for NYC’s senior citizens, enabling them to live independently and “age in place” without the associated financial burden; 30-40% of Affordable Housing residents also benefit from the assisted living services provided through the Enriched Housing program. You can choose a building and apply here.

What is NYC’s Affordable Housing Program?

The Affordable Housing program includes nine senior living buildings across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, all of which offer subsidized housing for senior citizens. 

Many offer social and recreational activities as well. Eligible, functionally impaired residents may also receive the supportive services associated with the Enriched Housing Program (i.e., help with housekeeping, personal hygiene, and medical appointments).

Who Qualifies for NYC’s Affordable Housing Program?

Applicants must be 65 or older. Exact income requirements vary by building. To receive Enriched Housing benefits, applicants must be functionally impaired but not require full-time care. 

Single applicants for Enriched Housing benefits cannot have an annual income exceeding $39,800; couples must not have a combined annual income exceeding $45,500. Residents and other household members must also pass a background check and undergo an interview process.

The Mitchell-Lama Program

Since 1955, the Mitchell-Lama Program has provided co-op and rental housing affordable to New York City’s middle class. You can apply here.

What Is the Mitchell-Lama Program?

The Mitchell-Lama Program provides rental and co-op housing to families of low-to-moderate income levels, including senior citizens, throughout New York City’s five boroughs. 

Each of the qualifying developments and complexes has its own waiting list, and applicants are granted a spot on the waiting list via lottery (veterans and their surviving spouses receive preferred spots on the list). You can check your status on the waiting list online via Mitchell-Lama Connect.

Who Qualifies for the Mitchell-Lama Program?

Household income limits for the Mitchell-Lama Program vary based on the size of the applying household, whether the development is federally assisted, and whether it’s a rental or a co-op. 

This means that income limits range from $74,720 (for a federally assisted rental for one person) to $220,125 (for a non-federally assisted rental or a federally assisted co-op) for eight people. Applicants can apply to as many Mitchell-Lama developments as they like. The number of people in the renter’s household must correspond to the number of bedrooms in the housing unit.

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