By Brenda Lyle, CMC, One Senior Place Care Manager

Portrait-Of-Happy-Senior-Couple-At-Home-000025001387_FullBen Carson, U.S. HUD Secretary, warned of a senior housing crisis in Florida back in July of 2017 when he spoke at a conference for senior service providers.  Unfortunately, Mr. Carson was only telling us what we already knew.  In Central Florida, where the average market rate for a one-bedroom senior apartment is $1200.00 per month (rentjungle.com, March 2018), the waitlist for affordable senior housing is three to five years.  There just aren’t a lot of new affordable 55+ apartments being built and when they are built, they fill up immediately and the waitlist fills very quickly.  Brixton Landing, the newest 55+ apartment complex in the area opened April 2017 in Apopka.  It filled up within a couple of months and has a waitlist of an “unknown” length of time.  Unlike traditional apartments, 55+ apartments only become available when a resident moves to assisted living, a skilled nursing facility, or when a resident passes away.

There are three types of 55+ apartments in the Central Florida area:

Market rate senior apartments – These are offered at competitive rates, usually at or slightly below the cost of traditional apartments.

Affordable senior apartments – These usually have minimum and maximum income range requirements and charge a flat rate for rent. Rent is charged on a sliding scale, generally no more than 30% of your income.

Income based senior apartments – Rent is based on income and these apartments have the longest waitlists.

There is no centralized application system.  You must apply at the apartment complex that you meet the criteria for and fill out their application.  You can expect a background check and sometimes a credit check.  Then you wait… and wait… and wait.  Some of the apartments (like Brixton Landing) have an online application and waitlist system.

Frequently, I see clients that need to move immediately.  However, immediate occupancy for a low-rent senior apartment just isn’t possible.  If you know you are going to need to move to an affordable senior apartment, PLEASE don’t wait until the last minute to get on the waitlist.  At One Senior Place, we keep the list of affordable housing communities and we would be glad to give you a copy via email or in person.