Washington, DC (March 24, 2010) – Ensuring that the nation’s housing stock is affordable, accessible and connected to essential services is key to meeting the rapidly growing housing needs of America’s over 50 population, according to a new report released today by AARP’s Public Policy Institute and authored by the Center for Housing Policy. The new report, entitled Insight on the Issues: Strategies to Meet the Housing Needs of Older Adults, provides a comprehensive look at available and new research on the housing needs of older adults and is intended to help state and local policymakers address the unique housing needs of the older population. This report comes at a pivotal time when the Census Bureau is predicting that the number of Americans age 50 and up will increase 30 percent in the next 20 years alone – growing from 100 million in 2010, to 130 million older adults in 2030. Specifically, the report emphasizes the importance of building and preserving a wide-range of housing options that are sufficient to meet future demand and located in livable communities that provide affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options.
“With the population of older adults on the rise, this report helps to identify the essential housing policy strategies that can help them to balance their increasing needs with a desire to continue to stay closely connected to their families, communities and society,” said Center for Housing Policy Chair John K. McIlwain, senior resident fellow and the J. Ronald Terwilliger chair for housing at the Urban Land Institute.
According to Susan Reinhard, AARP Senior Vice President and Director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, “These resources will be invaluable for policymakers at the state and local levels as they adapt to the changing needs of an aging population.”
This report summarizes findings outlined in a series of nine fact sheets, which has been expanded into an online toolkit on HousingPolicy.org – the Center for Housing Policy’s online guide to state and local housing policy solutions. The report and toolkit are divided into three distinct sections:
Accessible, Safe and Affordable Homes
The first area is focused on providing accessible, safe and affordable homes for older adults that are not only designed to accommodate a variety of physical abilities, but are also affordable to those with fixed or limited incomes. Among the topics in this area are subsidized housing, universal design and visibility, and the weatherization of homes to improve energy-efficiency and lower utility costs.
Social Services and Transportation
Improving access to social services and transportation options for older adults is the second area of focus and includes highlighting the importance of designing communities in a way that allows older adults to “age in place” – ultimately, providing them with access to the services they need, and want, in order to live independently.
Housing Options Geared to Older Adults
And finally, the third area explores housing models geared to older adults who do not wish to live in a nursing home. One example is supportive housing, which is an umbrella term used for residential, versus institutional, settings that have been developed specifically to provide services such as meals, housekeeping assistance and the monitoring of chronic health conditions. Cohousing, whether for all ages or for older adults only, is another option for those who want to age in place among friends and neighbors.
It is important to note that a general overview of the housing challenges and solutions is provided by the report and fact sheets – while the online toolkit also links to a wealth of other resources that are provided within HousingPolicy.org, authored by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, or published by other organizations.
Today’s announcement is part of Housing Solutions Week 2010 – a series of events and announcements being hosted by the Center for Housing Policy and its affiliate, the National Housing Conference, focused on framing the nation’s housing challenges, while at the same time providing some of the solutions necessary in order to meet those challenges.
Contact: Michele Anapol
(202) 466-2121 x226