Seniors face affordable housing crisis

Problem expected to worsen as development lags behind demand

Surging demand and limited development has created an affordable housing crisis for seniors that’s only expected to worsen in the years ahead, Bisnow reports.

The number of older householders eligible for rental assistance is expected to increase by 2.6 million between 2011 and 2030, according to a 2014 study released by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

And most who are eligible for this assistance don’t receive it, meaning about 3 million to 4 million very low-income seniors could be trying to find affordable and adequate housing in the private market by 2030, the report found.

Part of why developers have not built enough affordable senior housing to meet demand is because sources of government funding for such development have diminished.

For example, thousands of projects came to a standstill when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 program stopped funding new senior housing in 2012, according to Bisnow.

Making it easier for homeowners to build smaller secondary homes on their properties — known as accessory dwelling units — is one way to help address the problem, Bay Area Council Senior Vice President of Public Policy Matt Regan told Bisnow. Amid the simmering crisis, seniors are reportedly the largest growing segment of homeless people.

Email Teke Wiggin.