Saturday, June 24, 2017

DC Housing Expo does provide information on how to qualify for subsidized senior housing; could change under Trump in October

Continuing a discussion that I started here April 21, I visited the Washington DC Housing Expo, 9th Annual, this morning at the Convention Center downtown.

I visited an area about senior housing.  I was told that HUD has rules for “Section 8” and for some subsidized senior housing, especially apartments for 55+.  Often they are less expensive than comparable apartments for the general population as a result of subsidy, and typically offer one meal a day, and referrals to other properties for assisted living should that become necessary.

Most properties have a monthly income range, minimum to maximum yearly, for qualification.  Income could include social security (probably before Medicare taxes), pensions, any annuities already set up with financial institutions or life insurance companies, and allow counting of 0.06% per month of provable assets (that would be 0.72% a year), toward qualification.  The typical maximum is around $55000 a year for subsidized housing.

Consultants were concerned about what happens in a GOP Congress and Trump presidency for the FY that starts in October 2017.  But if subsidies were reduced, it’s conceivable that the formula for counting personal assets would become more generous, based on the ideology of more self-sufficiency.

There were some attorneys present.  Generally, the “open market” for apartment buildings does not really have an industry standard for counting a retiree’s personal assets, the way it does for mortgages.  A retiree with substantial cash could find it easier to purchase a property with cash than rent.   But some landlords would be willing to work with pre-arranged savings accounts with automatic withdrawals for rent.

For what look like desirable modern, secure and well-supervised properties, from a very preliminary look, for both rent and purchase, prices look substantially less in places like North Carolina (either Raleigh-Durham or Charlotte), Texas (Austin or DFW), and more upscale midwestern cities like Minneapolis (where rent for a modern property appears to be about 2/3 of what it would be in Washington or close-in suburbs).

Use of personal assets for qualification of retirees seems to be somewhat problematic because it could be spent, could lose value in equity markets, or be challenged if inherited (the “English novel” or “Cousin Rachel” problem).  Landlords prefer to see the ability to earn income dynamically last as long as possible (as population ages) rather than coast on benefits and savings.  Wealth inequality has some subtle downsides indeed.

I’ll get into this more on Wordpress soon.  No, I don't want to live in a tiny house (ladder loft and kitchen).

Update: July 15

I'm told personally that the waiting lists for subsidized 55+ apartments are generally long.

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