Although both low income senior housing and Section 8 housing are managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are many differences between the two. The largest difference is the age requirement to live in senior housing; an individual must be 62 years or older to qualify for senior housing.
Section 8 Housing
The Section 8 HUD housing program provides low income individuals or families with vouchers to pay for their housing costs. These vouchers enable approved individuals to live anywhere they like, provided the landlord agrees to accept their HUD voucher for a portion of rent payments. Voucher holders are still responsible for paying some rent, as much as 30% of their income. There is no age requirement for Section 8 voucher recipients, but recipients must earn an income less than 50% of the average in the area. The voucher program is run through application and has a waiting list that is several years long.
Low Income Senior Housing
Only individuals 62 or older are eligible for low income senior housing. Applicants must also have an income of less than 50% of the median income for their area. Housing is mainly provided to elderly persons that require daily assistance with living or need regular caretaking. Seniors must pay up to 30% of the rent for their unit.
Seniors can use vouchers to select the residence of their choice, provided that the landlord agrees to accept the HUD voucher as payment for part of the rent. Seniors can also choose to live in HUD-approved or managed facility.