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      Finding Low Income Senior Housing in Detroit, MI


      Detroit is a city in transition. After many years of economic decline leading up to an eventual bankruptcy, the Motor City is bouncing back in a major way. With rising employment numbers and increased wages, the economic landscape in Detroit has improved substantially and the reverberation can be felt throughout the city’s historic neighborhoods. 

      As one of America’s original hard-working blue collar towns, Detroit is known most for being the home of the U.S. auto industry. But what might not be as well known is that Detroit has an incredibly low cost of living. In fact, it’s 16% lower than the national average. Rent prices are a whopping 21% lower in Detroit than the national average. With such affordability, it’s no wonder why so many people are rediscovering the wonderful opportunities this iconic city has to offer.

      Another thing that makes Detroit such a great place to live is its beautiful midwestern climate. The city enjoys the splendor of all four seasons, which runs from hot and humid summers to snowy winters. And there are plenty of fun things to do in Detroit that will help you make the most of the weather. For instance, Detroit is home to the top riverwalk in the U.S., the Detroit RiverWalk. The city also plays host to numerous events and festivals throughout the year. Other notable attractions include the Henry Ford Museum, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Zoo, the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, the Fox Theatre, the Motown Museum, and so many others.

      In fact, Detroit is quite a popular city for active older adults. With a walkability rating of 99 and an outstanding public transportation system, Detroit is considered an Age Friendly city. It is also home to several highly rated healthcare facilities, hospitals, and medical centers, as well as a wide variety of specialized care providers.

      Another factor that makes Detroit a great place to live for older adults is that the tax system in Michigan offers several advantages to seniors. In addition to their regular personal deduction of $2,900, seniors aged 65 years or older are entitled to an additional exemption of $1,900 on their state income tax returns

      There’s even a very good selection of low-cost apartment communities for seniors in the Detroit area. In this guide, you will learn more about the different low income senior housing options available in Detroit, as well as eligibility requirements, and more. The topics covered include:

      Low Income Seniors' Housing Options in Detroit, MI


      In Detroit, seniors make up 11% of the population. And poverty is quite prevalent among the elderly in the city, with more than half of all seniors living on an annual income of less than $20,000.

      With so many seniors living in the low- to very-low income brackets, it is more important than ever for the city to provide adequate and affordable housing options to seniors. But while there are a lot of low income apartment communities in Detroit, it can still be challenging to find available housing for low income seniors, especially if you don’t know where to start. The following will give you a brief overview of the different low income senior housing programs in Detroit and how to find available apartments in your ideal neighborhoods.

      About Detroit’s Low Income Senior Housing Programs

      Securing low income housing in Detroit starts by applying for one or more of the available housing programs that are designed to help older adults afford their monthly rent. These programs include the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program, HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

      HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program

      In Detroit, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) is managed by the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC). The DHC receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to manage the program. The voucher program helps low income seniors afford safe, high quality housing by providing them with rental assistance payments. To qualify for the vouchers, the senior (or the entire household if others are living in the same apartment) must meet certain basic eligibility requirements, including:

      • Must not be a registered sex offender and/or not convicted of methamphetamine manufacture or production on public housing premises
      • Must have not been evicted from federally assisted housing for drug-related criminal activity in the past 3 years
      • Must have not been evicted from federally assisted housing within the past 5 years
      • Must not owe money to any subsidized housing program
      • Cannot exceed annual gross income guidelines

      Since these housing vouchers are in such high demand, all applicants are placed on a waiting list. Eligibility is only determined once an applicant is chosen from the waiting list. This begins the application process to being approved for the voucher program.

      Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program

      Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program is a HUD program that is designed for seniors over the age of 62 that meet either low-income or very low-income standards. This program provides capital advances to “finance the construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition with or without rehabilitation of structures that will serve as supportive housing for very low-income elderly persons, including the frail elderly.” The program also provides rent subsidies for the projects to help make them more affordable to those in need.

      The Section 202 program provides low- to very low-income elderly with housing solutions that allow them to live independently but in an environment that also provides certain beneficial support services such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, and more. To apply for a Section 202 apartment, a senior must submit an application in response to a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) posted on

      Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC)

      The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program offers a financial incentive to builders and developers to construct, rehabilitate, and operate rental housing that is specifically designated for low-income tenants. Under federal law, LIHTC is required to be allocated according to a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The QAP is required to set forth selection criteria used to determine housing priorities appropriate to local conditions in Michigan.

      Low income tax credit communities can sometimes be identified because they use the word “affordable” or the terms “Income Limit Restrictions Apply" and/or "Variable Pricing Structure” in their ads and/or other marketing materials. Unlike HUD’s voucher program, every community that partakes in the LIHTC program has its own income eligibility requirements and in many cases, they can have even stricter qualification requirements than HUD’s programs. As a result, it's always important to ask what the eligibility requirements are when contacting a community.

      LIHTC apartments are regularly in short supply due to them being in such high demand in Detroit. As a result, there tends to be long waiting lists for these programs, and some can even be closed to new applications periodically simply because the agencies can’t keep up with the demand.

      Frequently Asked Questions About Qualifying For Affordable Housing Programs


      Low-income apartments that are designed for seniors tend to be in high demand, so it is not uncommon for an applicant to be kept on a waiting list while they wait their turn for a unit to become available. Some applicants may even be outright denied eligibility for one of several reasons. If you are applying for a low-cost senior housing program, then here are answers to some of the most common questions about qualifying and being approved.

      Q1. What are the eligibility requirements for low-income senior housing in Detroit, MI?

      Seniors applying for low-income senior housing in Detroit must be at least 62 years old and have a gross annual income that does not exceed HUD’s local income limits. Applicants must also meet the terms of the lease for the apartment they are applying for.

      Q2. Can I be denied low-income senior housing?

      Yes. Since the eligibility requirements can be different for each program, it is important to know what the requirements are for the program you’re interested in before you apply, so you can hopefully avoid a denial. However, even if you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you can still be denied for a range of different reasons. The most common reason for denial is having an income that exceeds the income limit imposed by the housing program being applied for, but other reasons can include having a low credit score, a poor rental history, a criminal record, and/or the need for ongoing medical care or daily assistance that’s not provided by the apartment community.

      Q3. Can I appeal my denial?

      Yes. If you apply for a program and are denied, you will receive a written notice from the program that includes the reason for denial. In that letter, there will also be instructions for filing an appeal.

      Q4. How can I improve my chances of being approved for low-income senior housing?

      When applying for low-income housing, the most important thing you can do is to provide the program’s authorities with complete and accurate information on your application. If you submit an incomplete application or one with false information, then your application will be denied. You should also plan on being present at all requested interviews and follow up whenever needed as missing one can also result in a denial.

      Additional Assistance for Low Income Seniors in Detroit, MI

      If you are a low-income senior in Detroit and you are receiving rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, then you may be eligible for other programs that can help you live a better quality of life. One of the most popular is the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. This program provides the head of the household and/or other adult members with resources on how to obtain an education, job training, counseling or other types of social services while in the program.

      If you are having difficulty affording your utility bills, then help is available through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The DHHS’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists eligible low-income households with their heating and cooling energy costs.

      If food insecurity is a concern, then seniors can receive up to $192 a month in benefits to buy food through Michigan’s Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly program. There’s also pension counseling services available through the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. Additional resources for low-income seniors and families are available from 2-1-1 Michigan and the Michigan Community Action Agency Association.

      How to Find Low-Income Housing for Seniors in Detroit, MI


      Trying to make ends meet when you’re a senior living on a tight budget is getting harder and harder to do, but nobody should ever have to worry about not having a roof over their head. And that’s why low-income senior housing is so important in a city like Detroit. But understandably, it can sometimes be challenging to find apartments that are designated specifically for low-income seniors and families.

      That’s where Senioridy can be an invaluable resource. We help take the frustration out of your apartment search with our free online search directory. With built-in customizable search options, our online search tool can help you find the perfect senior apartment in your choice of neighborhood.

      Once you find an apartment you are interested in, you will find the appropriate contact details within the search results and you can apply for residency directly through the community. The unit's managing authority will conduct an interview and screening to determine if you qualify for low-income senior housing. If you meet all the eligibility requirements for low-income senior living, then an apartment will be allocated for you and you can take your next step toward obtaining a safe and well-maintained living space in the great city of Detroit.

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