Senior affordable housing crisis will continue without policy action
Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are reaching the age of senior status, which means there is an increasing elderly population. By 2030, the population age 65 and older will have doubled.
Affordable housing and services are lacking for this population and a growing number of elderly are becoming homeless. Section 202 of the Housing Act, Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, helps provide affordable housing and supportive services for the elderly. However, current financial struggles in government budgets have cut funds for Section 202 projects. Less of these units are being built each year, meaning there is a widening gap between supply and demand for affordable senior housing.
While affordable housing for seniors is in high demand, many seniors also need more support. The national average rent per month for assisted living is $2,969. This increases to $4,270 for seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. This money comes from personal savings, pensions or social security. Medicaid and other federal programs do not pay for assisted living. This is why there needs to be policy changes around supportive housing for the elderly. The longer seniors can live independently in affordable housing with supportive services, the better off they will be financially.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is working with legislators to affect policy change. Your voice is needed as well. Contact your local legislator to let them know your thoughts on this subject. Find your representatives’ contact information and leave a comment below.
By Kate Klip, Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program Intern
Information from lendingage.org, HUD and agingcare.com