Today’s economic uncertainties related to housing and finances are making many of the nation’s seniors put their retirement dreams on hold.
Studies show that many older Americans face the looming possibility of foreclosure or eviction.
According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau data, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc among homeowners and renters 55 and older, threatening some with foreclosure or eviction. The studies show many seniors have to cut back on necessities, such as food and medicine, to stay in their homes.
As inflation inches higher, some retirees worry about managing the rising cost of necessities like food, housing and gasoline against their monthly housing expenses.
Recent Data Tells the Story
About 4.4% of seniors with a mortgage are behind on their payments, with non-white homeowners and those making less than $25,000 a year most likely to be in arrears, according to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The federal bi-weekly Household Pulse Surveys show that of the seniors who were behind on mortgage payments, 52.4% reported living in a household with three or more people, while 39.4% lived with one other person, and 8.2% lived alone. Children are present in 33% of these households, and 20.4% of these homeowners report that they sometimes or often lack enough food during the week.
About 36% percent of seniors missing mortgage payments said a job loss by a household member was a principal cause. In addition, 12.2% of seniors who were behind on their mortgage payments report that they’ll likely face foreclosure. That’s on top of the 188,700 seniors who are behind on rent payments and face eviction, the CFPB said. The data also shows older renters struggle to make their rent payments during the pandemic.
As of mid-2021, an estimated 583,400 older renters, defined as renters ages 65 and older, were behind on their rent payments. Hundreds of thousands of older renters are still behind on their rent payments even as the economy improves.
The survey data suggest that even as the economy begins to recover, there has been no consistent decline in the number of older renters behind on their payments.
Unfortunately, these challenges hit communities of color the hardest. The survey data show that the largest variations are along the lines of race/ethnicity and income. The share of older adults behind on their payments is higher among non-White than Whites and older renters with incomes below $25,000 than those with incomes above $25,000. It is also higher among older renters who report significant difficulty walking and climbing stairs or not being able to do it at all.
Older renters behind on their payments also face food insecurity, difficulty meeting expenses, and frequently feel anxious.
You're Not Alone
Seniors finding themselves facing a foreclosure or eviction don’t have to do in alone.
While it can be complicated to understand how to navigate this challenging time, federal state resources are available to help.
Reaching out to 995 HOPE Hotline is also a good first step to take.
- Homeownder Resources: 995 HOPE Hotline’s HUD-certified counselors offer a caring ear and can often provide valuable information and options for alternatives to foreclosure and referrals for assistance to any senior that calls. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a round of foreclosure-prevention resources. Depending on your situation, learning about reverse mortgages could provide options. Review this article about common questions seniors have about reverse mortgages. You can also learn more about housing vouchers here.
- Renters Resources: If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. Federal, state, and local governments are offering help with housing expenses and avoiding eviction. You can find more information about help for renters at consumerfinance.gov/renters.
- General Resources: See our summary of resource links for those looking for housing assistance. This senior living website provides general resources for seniors.
- Benefits Check-up for Seniors: benefitscheckup.org is a free, confidential service from the National Council on Aging that matches seniors with assistance programs and services for which they may be eligible
Senior homeowners and renters facing financial challenges are more successful in figuring out their next steps when they fully understand their options.
Our HUD-certified counselors begin a conversation about where you are today, and what you need to accomplish your goals.
We guide you through a process to assess your financial picture and create an action plan to address your specific situation.
Take the first step and call. We listen with respect, offer advice and information, and work with you every step of the way.