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The Best Guide for Senior Housing Options in NYC

Thursday, February 13, 2020

If you’re looking for affordable senior housing in New York City, either for yourself or an elderly family member, it can seem like an overwhelming task. 

Maybe you’ve lived in the city for a long time, you have family members in the area, and want to continue living close to the community that you love.


But if you’re on a fixed income from social security and your pension, the ever-increasing rent in NYC can seem to be out of your budget. You might also have mobility issues and need to find a building that caters to seniors like you.


So you might be wondering if there are any options for you in the city. How do you find them, and who do you contact to get the process started?


The good news is that, yes, there are options when it comes to affordable senior housing in NYC. There are city departments and organizations geared towards helping seniors find affordable housing that’s a good fit for them.


The issue is that there is often a waiting list for these units. So you might need to keep exploring a few different options before you can find one that suits your needs and budget.


In this article, we’ll aim to provide you with a clear understanding of your options for senior housing in NYC. We’ll also include some information on how to get the application process started.


What housing options are available for seniors living in NYC?


Before we delve deeper into some of the senior housing agencies in NYC, let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of housing options that are available to you. Knowing what to look for will help when you start contacting various housing agencies.


1. Low-income housing



If you’re 62 years of age or older and you meet specific income requirements, you might be eligible for low-income housing for seniors in NYC. 


NYC’s Department for the Aging (DFTA) administers the program, and they will review your financial situation to determine your eligibility.


The DFTA will help you with information about the various options that might be available to you. But they aren’t able to help you find a specific housing unit.


If you’re in NYC, you can contact the DFTA by dialing 311, or you can visit their website


2. Nursing homes


Nursing homes are ideal for seniors who require a high level of daily care. 


You will get help with activities of daily living such as personal hygiene tasks, getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, grooming, and more. You will also get a high level of medical care as per your needs.


Your family members or caregivers might feel more secure with a nursing home because they’ll know that you’re getting the care that you need, something which might be a challenge if you were to continue living at home. 


But you do lose some independence, so be sure to consult with your family members and care professionals before you decide if a nursing home is right for you.


3. Assisted living programs


Eligible residents might qualify for assisted living programs in select New York State licensed housing facilities.


Assisted living programs are ideal for seniors who don’t require nursing home level care, but only some assistance with activities of daily living, and occasional therapy. 


Services typically include three meals a day, and household chores like cleaning, laundry, etc. Assisted living programs can also include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and some nursing services.


Some facilities arrange social activities between residents, and you might be able to live with your spouse, depending on the facility. 


For more information on NYC’s assisted living programs, call 311, or visit the DFTA website


4. Enriched housing programs


Enriched housing programs are government-subsidized or non-profit apartment buildings designed for the elderly who might need personal care services. 


Each program budget is managed carefully to maximize value to the elderly community. The apartments usually include kitchen facilities that are easy to use for the elderly. 


The program includes light assistance with daily living tasks but does not include nursing or medical care. Residents can expect help with meal preparation (or even ordering food), personal hygiene tasks, housework, shopping, and transportation to run errands and medical appointments. 


In NYC, the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC) runs the enriched housing program. You can contact them at 212-369-5523 for more information.


5. Adult homes for seniors


Adult homes can be ideal for seniors who don’t require nursing or medical care but would like assistance with household chores like cleaning, personal care, meals, etc. Adult homes may also organize social activities.


They are similar to assisted living facilities, but they do not include cooking facilities. But the service usually includes daily meals, so there is no need to cook. 24-hour supervision is also part of the services. 


The New York State Dept. of Health (NYSDOH) runs the adult home program. All homes and care facilities must obtain certification from the NYSDOH. 


For more information on NYC adult homes, call the NYSDOH at 212-417-4921.


6. Home-sharing for NYC seniors


NYC’s home-sharing for seniors is a program that matches elderly roommates (or flatmates) who are a good fit for each other, through a safe and trusted process. To qualify, one of the flatmates has to be 60 or older. 


One of the most significant challenges that the elderly often face is that they feel disconnected from their communities. Sharing a home with another senior who is a good fit can provide a vital emotional boost for some seniors. 


The program also allows hosts who are 55 or older to open up their homes to developmentally disabled adults who can live independently. 


Otherwise, two people, one of whom is 60 or older, are matched by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC) to share a home.


The program is run by the NYFSC, but funded by the NYC Dept. for the Aging (DFTA).


You can download a brochure about NYC home-sharing, apply to be a guest or a host


7. NYC housing for seniors with disabilities


If you or your elderly family member are living with a disability, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, the NYC Dept. of Aging might be able to provide information on housing that caters to your needs. There might be housing options in NYC that provide personal and medical care to seniors with disabilities.


Your housing options may include adult homes, nursing homes, assisted living, or enriched housing. The NYC DFTA will determine what best suits your needs depending on your specific condition, requirements, and financial situation. 


For more information, contact the NYC DFTA at 311.


Who can qualify for senior housing assistance in NYC?


The eligibility requirements vary depending on what department or agency you’re applying through.


Here, we will list some of the basic requirements for each channel, but you might need to contact them directly for further details based on your specific situation. 


NYC Dept. for the Aging (DFTA)


To qualify for low-income housing for seniors through the DFTA, you must be at least 62 years old and meet specific income requirements, depending on the particular criteria. For example, the number of people in your household could affect income requirements.


You may also qualify for housing assistance if you have a disability like Alzheimers’s or dementia. 


To learn more about your specific options and eligibility requirements, call 311 if you’re in NYC. They will ask for your email or daytime phone, and someone from DFTA will follow up with you. 


New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC)


New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC) is an organization dedicated to helping seniors live dignified lives in a home environment. They are a non-profit, and they serve NYC seniors in all five boroughs.


They arrange affordable housing, home sharing for seniors, as well as enriched housing. Some of the NYFSC housing is funded and subsidized through the NYC DFTA. 


Let’s look at some of their eligibility requirements.


1. Enriched/affordable housing


To be eligible for enriched housing through NYFSC, you must meet the following criteria. 


  • You must be 65 years of age or older.
  • You must require some assistance with personal care and daily activities, but not require intensive nursing care.
  • If you’re an individual, your income must not exceed $59,750 per year from all sources. For couples, income must not exceed $68,300 per year. 


2. Home-sharing program


These are the requirements to qualify for NYFSC’s home-sharing program.


  • One of the flatmates looking to be matched must be 60 years or older.
  • Must pass screening and reference checks by NYFSC social worker staff.
  • Must be deemed compatible with a potential housemate. 


If you’d like to be a host, you have to be 55 years of age or older, and you can make your home available to a developmentally disabled adult who can live independently. 


The Mitchell-Lama program


The Mitchell-Lama program was established by NY state senator MacNeil Mitchell and Assemblyman Alfred Lama in 1955. It provides affordable housing for moderate-moderate income families living in NYC. 


As a senior, you might be eligible for the Mitchell-Lama program if you meet specific income requirements.


For an individual looking for a federally-assisted rental, income must not exceed $59,760 per year. For a full list of income requirements, visit the Mitchell-Lama website. 


The program does not include care services. So, it could be a good fit for seniors who are only looking for affordable housing to live in NYC and are willing to arrange for their own personal care services. 


If you’re a senior citizen with a yearly income below $50,000, you might be eligible for protection from all or some rental increase in a Mitchell-Lama housing unit.


How do you apply for low-income NYC senior housing


Regardless of the department or agency, there are most likely waiting lists for many affordable senior housing units in NYC. So, you might need to spend some time on the phone to locate an open unit, one that suits your needs and budget.


Here are some resources to help you get the application process started.


NYC DFTA


As we’ve mentioned a few times throughout the article, you can call NYC’s Dept. for the Aging at 311 to learn more about your options and to get the application process started. 


They also publish a borough-by-borough guide known as the “Alternatives in Senior Housing”, and we’ll link each guide in the section below. 


DFTA also has access to “section 202” housing, which is a federally-funded housing program for low-income seniors. 


Apply for NYFSC housing programs


NYFSC offers affordable housing, enriched housing, and home-sharing programs all over NYC.


We will provide application links to each of their available buildings below, but if you want more information about the NYFSC program and the application process, you can call them at 212-369-5523.


Apply for the Mitchell-Lama program


To get the application process started, you can create an account at NYC Mitchell-Lama Connect


There is no single application, and you have to apply for each development separately. You can explore all the available options through Mitchell-Lama Connect and apply for multiple developments at once.


NYC housing lottery


NYC has a housing lottery that sometimes sets units aside for seniors. Create an account with the NYC Housing Connect to explore your options.


What is the average cost of senior housing in NYC?


The cost of senior housing might vary widely depending on the type of accommodation you choose. For example, a nursing home will most likely cost a lot more than a subsidized adult home or enriched living facility.


Just to give you an idea, the average nursing home cost for seniors in NYC is around $12,000 per month, where all your needs are taken care of.


Alternatively, if you qualify for enriched housing through NYFSC, your monthly rent could be as low as $1,241, including rent, food, and utilities.


The agency or department that you work with can help you understand your costs once they know more about your specific preferences and needs.


Which NYC apartment buildings cater to the senior population?


Here are some links and resources to help you understand the senior housing choices in your borough. 


The DFTA guides include extensive information on senior housing resources in each borough.

Bronx


DFTA senior housing borough guide: Bronx


Brooklyn


DFTA senior housing borough guide: Brooklyn


Brooklyn NYFSC enriched housing


Cumberland Gardens


425 Cumberland Street

Brooklyn, NY 11238

P: (718) 623-8181

F: (718) 623-2809


Download application


Manhattan


DFTA senior housing borough guide: Manhattan


Manhattan NYFSC enriched housing


Alma Rangel Gardens

55 West 137th Street

New York, NY 10037

P: (917) 507-1108

F: (917) 507-1560


Download application


Arthur B. Brown and William Brown Gardens


225 East 93rd Street

New York, NY 10128

P: (212) 369-5523

F: (212) 410-4462


Download application


1850 Second Avenue


1850 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10128

P: (212) 831-2990

F: (212) 348-7451


Download application


Clinton Gardens


404 West 54th Street

New York, NY 10019

P: (212) 489-9339

F: (212) 489-9332


Download application


Ridge Street Gardens


80 Ridge Street

New York, NY 10002

P: (212) 598-4148

F: (212) 598-4092


Download application


Queens 


DFTA senior housing borough guide: Queens

Queens NYFSC enriched housing


River View Gardens


4-12 49th Avenue

Long Island City, NY 11101

P: (718) 361-8442

F: (718) 361-8534


Download application


Staten Island


DFTA senior housing borough guide: Staten Island


Final thoughts


To get started with the process, you can use the following method.


1. Decide on the type of senior housing that would suit you best, depending on your needs.

2. Find out which agency or channel (DFTA, NYFSC, Mitchell-Lama, or Housing Lottery) handles the type of housing that you need.

3. Get in touch with your department or agency to explore your options and get the application process started.

4. Follow their instructions and proceed step-by-step. 


Remember, because of the waiting lists, you might need to be persistent and call repeatedly. But if you can be patient and stick with the process, then you’ll find that you’re moving into your NYC apartment before you know it. 




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