A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center warns that the rapidly increasing population of older Americans is leading to an additional squeeze on housing supply and affordability.
The report, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, focuses on policy changes that will be necessary to meet those needs. The task force for this report included Tim McCarthy, immediate past chair of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council.
The task force noted that housing costs are one of the major budget strains on senior households, in large part due to the scarcity of affordable and available rental homes. Now estimated as a shortfall of 6.9 million homes, that shortage will grow in the years ahead as the senior population grows.
The report recommends 10 specific policy changes that Congress and the Administration must make to combat the growing threat:
- Make the prevention of homelessness among older adults a national priority.
- Ensure that federal rental-assistance programs are funded at adequate levels.
- Support continued and adequate funding for rental assistance and service coordination under the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.
- Fund a new program for senior-supportive housing that uses project-based rental assistance and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to support new construction and attract funding for health care programs.
- Preserve existing Section 202 units by making them eligible for the Rental Assistance Demonstration.
- Help housing providers, particularly mission-oriented non-profits, better coordinate services.
- Increase LIHTC funding to help finance the production and preservation of additional affordable rental housing, including housing for low-income seniors.
- Encourage states to use their Housing Trust Fund allocations and Treasury to use the Capital Magnet Fund to support the production and preservation of affordable housing for lowest-income seniors.
- Encourage states and communities to adopt more permissive land-use policies to enable alternatives like accessory dwelling units, micro-units and congregate or group homes. Jurisdictions should ensure local policies promote a range of affordable housing options for seniors.
- Convene an inter-agency task force through the Office of Management and Budget to ensure federal laws and regulations don’t stymie the production and preservation of new affordable housing, particularly for seniors.
See the full report.