Working to find actionable solutions to the nation's key challenges.

Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez: America’s elderly desperately need more affordable housing

HousingWire

Sunday, May 22, 2016

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Our nation is aging and millions of older adults will struggle to find housing that is both affordable and physically suitable. As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force, we are releasing a report Monday with a set of recommendations that Congress, the administration and states could implement that would enhance the lives of America’s seniors.

Our fundamental proposition is this: greater integration of America’s health care and housing systems will be essential to improve health outcomes for older adults and enable millions of Americans to age in place in their own homes and communities.

As former Secretaries of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we know that growing the supply of affordable housing is at the root of the challenge before us. It is a national imperative. The alarming scarcity of housing that is safe, affordable, and physically suitable for older adults, particularly those with the most limited financial resources, is not adequately appreciated.

To understand the severity of the problem, consider this fact: In 2013, there were approximately 11.2 million “extremely low-income” renter households, including 2.6 million senior households with no children, competing for only 4.3 million affordable and available rental homes. This supply-demand imbalance resulted in a total shortfall of about 6.9 million homes.

KEYWORDS: HENRY CISNEROS, MEL MARTINEZ, BPC OP-EDS, SENIOR HEALTH AND HOUSING TASK FORCE