Finding affordable living options as a CDPAP patient can be a challenge. The city of New York is filled with expensive prime real estate, and areas allocated to senior living seem to be few and far between. With the population living longer and stronger, seniors need options for living that they can enjoy and afford.

Finding options that fit your budget and meet your daily medical needs is possible, you just have to know how to apply. 

Below, you can find useful information and links to housing options for seniors living in New York City. Plus, find out the differences between houses, using them as a guide to finding the one that best suits you and your needs. Make sure that once you choose an option, start the application process today, getting your name on the list to find low-income housing. 

What Housing Options are there for Seniors Living in NYC?

Senior citizens have a lot of options when it comes to housing in NYC. A few of them come with qualifications including income and age. Below, we’ll discuss housing options and requirements for multiple housing options for seniors in NYC.

Low Income Housing

To qualify for low income, any person age 62 or older will have to prove their financial status. Once everything is submitted, details will be reviewed to find the perfect housing match. Because there is usually no assistance included in these types of houses, they are not recommended for seniors that need a lot of assistance daily.

Low-income housing is best for independent seniors that just want a little help here and there keeping up with daily chores. While medical care or therapy is an option to look at if needed, low-income housing does not offer that daily like some other senior living facilities.

The reviewing party is the Department for the Aging (DFTA), which is there to help seniors live easily and comfortably no matter which home they choose. For questions, dial 311 or check out the website for more details.

Nursing Homes

For seniors that do need care, a nursing home could be the best option. Nursing homes offer all different levels of assistance, whether it’s helping with daily tasks or just helping administer medications on time. A lot of planning goes into social events for seniors in nursing homes, where they can make friends, play games, and live comfortably.

A lot of families decide on nursing homes due to the fact that there is always someone there. Unlike living on their own, families can rest assured that their loved one will never be alone and close to help in case anything happens.

Nursing homes are not considered low-income in most cases, as the average cost of them is pretty high. Still, compared to low-income options with necessary therapy involved, it could be more affordable than other options for families that need help looking after their loved one.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is another senior housing type that requires qualification. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living homes offer more independence and are for those seniors who really don’t need much care. Maybe they need very minor assistance around the house and the occasional therapy.

Though the type of assistance can vary, it’s typical to have three meals a day and help with the daily chores. For therapy, this could include occupational or speech. Each day, assistants and nurses will visit the senior’s homes, making sure they have all that they need.

Plus, for some social interaction, some organizations will have social activities, attempting to bring the community together and help all the residents have a good time. Seniors aren’t always in bad shape and just need therapies here and there. For those in good shape, these activities keep them lively and ready for social interaction.

Home Sharing

For more social seniors that are on the hunt for a unique living experience, they could try home-sharing. The service is available to all seniors aged 60 and up and those 55 and over can act as hosts for senior roommates. If your loved one doesn’t need much care, this could be a great option to give them their independence and help keep them social.

The program works to take provided information about the seniors and match them to a roommate. In the end, the goal is to make a connection where they will feel connected to their companion and be able to live more normally than other kinds of senior living facilities.

The process of finding a companion and matching them can go fast or slow depending on availability, so be sure to get in and apply quickly.

Enriched Housing

Seniors that don’t need medical attention or therapy each day could look into enriched housing. This housing option is subsidized by the government and is a non-profit option that was made specifically for seniors. The apartments have normal structures, including a kitchen, living area, and a bedroom.

Though there is no medical assistance, the elderly who qualify will have help with all of their daily tasks, including housework, shopping, transportation, and more. It gives seniors much more freedom while still making sure that they have all of the assistance they need to live a normal and happy life.

Who Can Qualify for Senior Housing Assistance?

Qualifications for each of the different senior living options are different. They differ by agency and by department, some allowing younger-aged seniors to apply. Below, you’ll find key requirements for all of the senior housing options listed above.

 Low-Income Housing Qualifications

The department in charge of processing all inquiries for low-income housing for seniors is the Department for the Aging (DFTA). According to their requirements, all seniors who wish to apply must be at least 62 and fit into one of the low-income categories.

Applications are reviewed and an answer is given based on the applicant’s eligibility.   

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens (NYFSC) Qualifications

Seniors looking for affordable options can also visit the NYFSC. They are an organization on a mission to provide New York’s seniors with a lively and safe home environment. Based on particular criteria, they work to arrange housing options for seniors, placing them throughout all five boroughs.

To be considered for this program and the assistance that they provide, you must:

–        Be 65 or older

–        Not need the assistance of a certified nurse

–        Have an income below $59,750

The same organization also organizes home sharing for seniors, which come with a different set of requirements listed below:

–        The senior searching for a roommate must be aged 60 or older

–        They must undergo a screening done by NYFSC staff

–        Based on the questionnaire, must be matched with a compatible housemate

For this program, seniors can also act as a host. If that is something that you or your loved one would like to look into, you can start the process at age 55. As a host, you could have a compatible senior living in your home, sharing daily tasks with them.

 Moderate-Income Senior Housing

For seniors that are not considered low income but fall about mid-range, there is the Mitchell-Lama Program. This program is all about affordable housing for seniors, coming with a few minor requirements. For starters, seniors should not make over $59,760 per year and should not be reliant on any kind of medical or nursing assistance. More information about the program and its requirements can be found here.

How Do You Apply for Low Income Senior Housing?

There are lots of seniors just like you around the state of New York that are looking for assistance with finding a comfortable home that suits their needs. While there are many agencies, all of them come with different methods for application, most of which you could take care of online. Below, we’ll provide links, fundamental requirements, and more for the top assisted living programs for seniors.

Applying To DFTA NYC Programs

To start the process of housing with the DFTA, you’ll need to give them a call. Simply dial 311 to find out more about the application process as well as all of the specific requirements for seniors living in different areas. Options include low-income housing as well as Section 202 housing, a federally-funded project that aims to help low-income seniors.

NYDSC Application Process

NYDSC has the most popular options for seniors, providing assistance with affordable living, home-sharing, and even enriched housing. Depending on your area, you will have to reach out to a different department to start your application process. Any senior across New York can call 212-369-5523 for answers to any of their questions or concerns about other application processes.

Mitchell-Lama Application Process

Starting with a link to the application, you’ll have to first check available options. This program is different from others in that they do not match you to the house that suits you. Instead, seniors have to apply for different options, turning in different applications for each one.

Though it might sound tedious, seniors do have the option to fill out multiple applications at one time and can increase their options of qualification while they’re waiting for a definite answer.

The NYC Housing Lottery

If you haven’t heard of the housing lottery, there is no better time to sign up than now. All you have to do is create an account with NYC Housing Lottery, fill in your information, and cross your fingers. Each year, the housing lottery sets aside houses for seniors, which could be a good option to qualify for a low-income property.

What Is the Average Cost of Senior Housing?

It’s not easy to calculate the average cost of senior living because it varies by type. Seniors have a lot of options to choose from, some much more costly than others.

Assisted Living

For those that need assistance for their living needs, the average cost in 2020 according to the Gentworth’s Cost of Care Survey was $5,991 per month. The highest assisted living in the same report topped out at $13, 500, which is far out of many senior’s abilities. For seniors that are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, there is a 20-30% increase in the entire cost.

Care in the Home

There are some seniors that prefer to stay at home. While there is nothing wrong with that, they may need access to some kind of medical assistance or therapy, which can add to the cost of living. On average, New York has a home care cost of about $26 per hour.

This option could be more or less affordable for families depending on the type of care they need and the number of days a week they will need it. Still, if you or your loved one does not qualify for low-income housing, this could be the next best option.

Adult Day Care

Another alternative to living in a full care facility is adult daycare. This is a great option for seniors that need assistance but might not have the funds to live in assisted living. Families can drop off their loved ones and rest assured that someone is with them throughout the day.

On top of the option to have their senior taken care of, they also can save a ton, as an adult daycare is one of the most affordable senior care options out there. It ranges about $90 per day and can start as low as $50 per day in some areas around New York.

Nursing Homes

Some seniors benefit from being in a nursing home. It allows families to continue their normal lives and for seniors to receive care and social interaction. However, this option comes with a pretty large cost per month, which was calculated with an average of $12,000.

For seniors that qualify, this number is significantly reduced with enriched programs. These enriched living options provide seniors with options to live comfortably while receiving assistance with some of their daily living needs. To reduce the total bill, enriched housing falls under $2,000 per month, something much more affordable for seniors and their families.

Which Apartments Buildings in the City Cater to the Senior Population?

Not all areas of NYC have apartment buildings for seniors but each area has some form of assistance that they provide for senior members. Below, you’ll find links and apartments that you can check into in your area.


In the Bronx, you can apply with the DFTA. Click this link to find out all that you need to know about applying for assistance in the Bronx.


The DFTA in Brooklyn offers assistance in many cases, most of which are perfect for low-income seniors. By following the link, you’ll have all of the information including how you can start your application.

Senior Apartments in Brooklyn

Cumberland Gardens


Checking out this DFTA guide for seniors in Manhattan, you’ll find all you need to know to get the process started.

Senior Apartments in Manhattan

Alma Rangel Gardens

Arthur B. and William Brown Gardens

Clinton Gardens


DFTA in Queens is full of useful information as well as a step-by-step guide on how you can start the application process today.

Senior Apartments in Queens

River View Gardens

Staten Island

There are no senior apartments for those living in Staten Island. Still, seniors can check out Staten Island’s DFTA housing guide to apply for low-income housing options.

Start the Process Today

If you’re 60 or getting close, it’s a good idea to start thinking about living options. If you will soon retire and have a more limited income than before, you can start the process today. Once you find the assisted living type that you’d like to apply for, you can follow these steps to make sure that you don’t miss a step.

1. Find which department is in charge of the type of housing you’re applying for. These are the DFTA, NYFSC, and the Housing Lottery.

2. Click links in your area to apply or, give the department a call to find out how you can start the process of applying.

3. Gather all the proper paperwork, fill out all the required forms, and make sure to turn them in. You may have to wait so the sooner, the better.

Getting the process started today, you’ll have a better chance of getting into the housing when you need it the most. A lot of times, families and seniors wait until it is too late and wind up spending much more than their budget allows. Start the process early, explore multiple options, and don’t ever give up on finding something that you can afford. There is nothing wrong with starting multiple applications, seeing which housing option you can get into first.

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