Applying for Affordable Senior Living
Written by: Lori Wheat, Boyd Management, Inc.
The process of applying for an apartment at a property designed for seniors can be overwhelming for most applicants if they are unprepared for the information and documents they may be asked to provide. Most senior properties are funded by various sources such as the low income housing tax credit, federal loan guarantees through USDA or HUD, direct federal and state loan funding resources, and/or private lenders. Many of these resources are targeting applicants with a gross income of less than 60% of the county’s median income.
Each of the mentioned programs has its own resident eligibility requirements thus complicating the application process. Management will establish their own screening criteria which may include credit, criminal, and previous landlord references upon receipt of a completed application and signed release form giving consent to verify information contained on the application. Applicants may be asked to provide a copy of their birth certificate, a copy of their social security card or immigration documents if not a US citizen, previous landlord references and even verification of any medical expenses. In addition to providing proof of their age and citizenship, applicants should be prepared to provide documentation from all sources of income and assets to ensure that they qualify for the property’s income requirements. Other private information may also be requested such as, an applicant may be asked for sensitive documentation such as his/her divorce decree, as it may reveal monetary or asset settlements. Another example of required documentation is a copy of the applicant’s life insurance policy to verify if cash value is available. Applicants may be shocked when asked for such personal information yet the agency providing funding requires the manager have this information in the applicant’s file.
The security of this personal information is acknowledged in the industry and professional management companies take steps to minimize breaches. Some agencies require a 10 day turnaround for applications and the time restraints and stress of this process may be discouraging to some applicants, so it is best to come prepared with the required documents. If the applicant needs help, bringing a trusted family member or friend to assist with the application process is recommended. Communication with the property’s manager is vital throughout this process and applicants should feel comfortable reaching out to the manager at any time. Typically, a compliance auditor will make the final determination on an application, and the more complete and organized all of the provided information is, the quicker the leasing decision can be provided.
While the process may seem overwhelming, the end result is a wonderful reward for the time and effort put into applying.