Skip to main content

Health and Housing Must-Reads, November 23

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched the Senior Health and Housing Task Force earlier this year. We are sharing some recently released publications, speeches and testimony we consider relevant to our work. The views expressed in these pieces do not necessarily represent the views of the task force, its co-chairs, members, advisors or BPC.

Compiled by Nikki Rudnick and Jake Varn

An Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates from BPC’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force
By Henry Cisneros, Mel Martinez, Allyson Y. Schwartz, and Vin Weber, BPC

“The next president will assume leadership of the United States at a time when the country is undergoing a profound demographic transformation. Leading this transformation will be a major expansion of our nation’s senior population.

“The impact that growing numbers of seniors will have on Social Security and our major federal health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, is well known. Less appreciated, however, is the fact that demand for housing that is both affordable and suitable for independent living by the elderly will rise dramatically in the coming years.” Read the letter.

Chronic homeless find supportive housing in the Valley, but some question the costs
By Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News

“The will to live led Barbara Tucker to the San Fernando Valley. Tucker ran away from her Oakland home at age 14 to escape an abusive stepfather, survived being burned over 50 percent of her body by a homeless woman, spent a seven-year stretch in federal prison for bank robbery, and slept in cars and on the streets of downtown Los Angeles after her release.

“She didn’t know stability until she was placed in permanent supportive housing, a model that Los Angeles city and county leaders want to expand in their combined $200 million attack on homelessness. But critics warn that building more permanent supportive housing helps only a few at a high cost.” Read the article.

For HUD, much done, more to do: At Atlanta session, Faust, officials discuss 50 years of battling inequality in housing
Harvard Gazette

“In the midst of the 50th anniversary year of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), officials from HUD, Harvard University, and elsewhere took time today to reflect on the government agency’s longtime fair-practices efforts in one of the cities where it has had its greatest recent impact: Atlanta.

“In that city, the Center for Civil and Human Rights played host to a collection of current and former political leaders, housing officials, and researchers whose work to establish mixed-income housing developments has led to better lives for many residents.” Read the article.

Report: Most Waitlists For Housing Choice Vouchers Closed In Illinois
By Ellyn Fortino, Progress Illinois

“As demand for federal housing vouchers intensifies in Illinois, residents in need of affordable rental housing are encountering mostly closed waitlists for the Housing Choice Voucher program across the state, a new report shows.

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development operates the Housing Choice Voucher program, which provides rental assistance to low-income families and is administered locally by public housing authorities (PHAs).

“Of the 71 PHAs with active Housing Choice Voucher programs in Illinois, 51, or 72 percent, have closed voucher waitlists, according to the report from Housing Action Illinois and the Social IMPACT Research Center.” Read the article.

A lot of people believe the Twin Cities needs more affordable housing; a lot fewer agree on where to build it
By Peter Callaghan, MinnPost

“It looked exactly like a public forum on affordable housing, complete with a congressman and a cabinet secretary listening to concerns and complaints from residents and activists.

“What it turned out to be, though, was something else — more like the opening session of a peace conference between warring factions.

“That’s more of what U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) seemed to have in mind last week, anyway, when he invited experts and residents to talk about two approaches to the same crisis. Before the forum began, before Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro could speak to the several hundred people gathered at southeast Minneapolis’ Mayflower Church, Ellison urged them’ to come here today not with an eye toward pushing your own view, but with an ear to listen to what others think. Allow the process of engagement to work on you.’” Read the article.

Purposeful Aging: A Model for a New Life Course
By Paul Irving, NextAvenue

“Traditional retirement is being re-imagined as older adults reject age segregation, decline and mass leisure to work, pursue learning, launch businesses and contribute to their communities through volunteerism and civic engagement. A longevity economy is developing as markets recognize the demand for products and services to meet the needs of the emerging aging demographic. Innovations in medicine and technology present hope for increasing life and health spans, while advanced research is revealing the power of the aging brain.” Read the article.

Video Interview with Laurie Goodman: Is the Housing Market Recovery Uneven?
Bloomberg Business

Housing Finance Policy Center director Laurie Goodman discusses the United States housing recovery with Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal on “What’d You Miss?” Watch the video.

To Lure Baby Boomers, Senior Centers Try Rebranding
By Jennifer Levitz, The Wall Street Journal

“Rochester Senior Center in southeastern Minnesota will relocate to a gleaming, $14 million publicly funded building next year.

“It plans to add a bistro-style cafe, a bike-sharing program and a test kitchen for cooking classes. But it intends to ditch one thing: the ‘Senior’ moniker.” Read the article.

Will Renaming Senior Housing Boost An Industry Or Enable Consumer Denial?
By Howard Gleckman, Forbes

“Would you rather live in a Life Plan Community or a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)? The market research folks have the answer: Most older adults, especially those under 65, would much rather live in a Life Plan Community than a CCRC. Even though they are exactly the same thing.” Read the article.

Our houses don’t fit us anymore
By Mike Ross, The Boston Globe

“Much of Boston’s existing housing stock was built for a very different time — a city filled with families, with more than half of the adults married. Children made up approximately one-third of the population, and households averaged three people. If you were single, you likely lived in one of the downtown neighborhoods, such as the Back Bay or Beacon Hill.

“Today, that’s all been turned on its head. Boston is now a mecca for young people, students, and job seekers. Children are a mere 16 percent of the population, and the average household size is closer to two. Two- and three-family homes now draw roommates in their 20s and 30s. What’s more, it’s the downtown that now draws families, where, according to top residential broker Beth Dickerson, newly created three-bedroom units are always the first to sell.” Read the article.

Minding The Millennials — Lessons In Self-Empowerment For Baby Boomers
By Paul Irving, The Huffington Post

“Can baby boomers searching for answers to the challenges of ageism look to millennials for lessons in self-empowerment?

“The culture of aging is changing as more and more boomers seek to remain active, productive and purposefully engaged. Two-thirds plan to work past age 65, or do not plan to retire at all, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Those plans should be seen as a positive trend. For older individuals, work is associated with better health, increased financial security and a stronger sense of purpose. For employers and the broader society, research confirms that older workers bring wisdom, beneficial experience and emotional balance to improve work environments and performance.” Read the article.

Can hospitals help create healthy neighborhoods?
By Stuart Butler, Brookings Institution

“There’s a growing recognition that good health depends on ‘upstream’ population health actions, well before a person enters the health care system, and that community institutions play a key role.

“But which institutions are well placed to function as hubs to integrate health care and other services within a community to achieve better health? Certainly, community schools, which are public schools that work with partners to provide a range of health and social services to children, have taken on that role with success.” Read the article.

Read Next