Senior citizens are sometimes treated as second-class citizens in America. They're often on fixed incomes and struggle to keep up with rising costs of living. Similarly, some senior citizens struggle with upkeep on their homes and properties and have little to no help from others. The government has several grants and loans designed specifically for financially strapped seniors.
Grants: How They Work
Most government grants that assist senior citizens are not distributed in cash payments directly to seniors. Instead, the money usually flows through a nonprofit agency that in turn uses the money to establish programs and services that will help increase senior citizens' standard of living.
Assisted Living Conversion
This federal grant provides the operators of multifamily units the necessary capital to convert their properties into Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs). These grants give seniors the benefit of living in an assisted living community at a lower cost than renting a home or paying a mortgage.
Senior Community Service Employment Program
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a grant-sponsored government program. This program gives seniors, aged 55 and older, the chance to get on-the-job training doing community service. This training then readies the participants for work in the private sector. This program was established after the Older Americas Act of 1965 was signed.
One of the more popular loans for seniors is the reverse mortgage. This is a loan that allows seniors, aged 65 and older, to tap the equity in their home without selling their house or making monthly payments. Instead, a lender will open a mortgage, and either give the borrower a lump sum payment or monthly stipend checks. The lender collects on the mortgage when the borrower either sells the home or dies.
Aging in Place Loans
Aging in Place loans (which often have other names) are simply home improvement loans. These loans are designed to help the homeowner rehabilitate his home. These loans do require monthly payments, so those on fixed incomes may be better off using the proceeds from a reverse mortgage to make home improvements.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.