AARP Utah, Utah Housing Coalition Release Senior Affordable Housing Report

Posted on 04/27/21

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Salt Lake City, Utah – By 2030, one in every five Americans will be over age 65, and the nation will face a severe shortage in appropriate housing to meet their needs. In Utah, which on the verge of a statewide affordable housing crisis, the state could lose over 40% of its federally subsidized rental units for low-income seniors over the next 25 years. More than 15% of the units could be lost by 2030. Without this vital source of affordable housing, more than three thousand senior households could experience housing instability and homelessness in the coming decades.

AARP Utah and Utah Housing Coalition have released a comprehensive report, Preserving Affordable Senior Housing Matters, recommending several steps to make senior housing preservation a statewide priority. These steps include:

  • Incorporate senior housing preservation, specifically a roadmap for expiring units, in moderate-income housing plans.
  • Establish a dedicated source of funding for senior housing preservation.
  • Adopt age-friendly zoning codes, including taking advantage of a new law that enables the creation of more ADUs in residential zones.
  • Implement a one-year notification requirement for expiring subsidized units.

According to a recent AARP survey, nearly 90% of older adults in the U.S. want to remain in their current home as long as possible, but housing is the single biggest expenditure for most American households. Rising home prices and rents, along with slow-growing incomes, can make it difficult for many households to find housing they can afford. It is particularly difficult for older adults living on fixed incomes.

“Ensuring older Utahns have access to affordable housing can help them stay in their home and their community safely, independently, and comfortably throughout their lives,” said AARP Utah State Director, Alan Ormsby. “And as Utah’s population ages, and we see an increased demand for affordable senior rentals, AARP also supports policies and programs that preserve diverse housing options that are affordable to households of different income levels.”

According to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, in 2015, more than 22% of all 65+ households—6.4 million households—rented their homes. As the older adult population is projected to grow, it is estimated that the number of older adult renter households nationwide will more than double between now and 2035.

”We want our policy makers to be aware that in the last eight years senior homelessness has tripled from 763 in 2011 to 2,170 in 2019. We will only see this statistic increased if we do not preserve and build more affordable housing for senior Utahns”, said Tara Rollins, Executive Director, Utah Housing Coalition.

Unless Utah acts now to preserve its expiring subsidized senior housing, the state will lose 120 of the 182 units it is projected to gain each year. Senior housing preservation would not only maintain the affordability of the existing senior housing supply, but it would also avert the unnecessary displacement of thousands of low-income older Utahns.

To learn more about preserving affordable senior housing and to download the full click here. This interactive map illustrates that the risk of expiring senior housing is a statewide issue.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

About Utah Housing Coalition

Utah Housing Coalition (UHC) is a state-wide membership-based organization located in Salt Lake City. We provide education, outreach, and advocacy in support of affordable housing to all Utahns. Our 125 plus members and partners are affordable housing practitioners, social services providers, developers, financial institutions, and state, county, and local government entities.

UHC conducts its work in partnership with our members and stakeholders that align with our mission: Through Education, Advocacy, and Community Partnerships, the Utah Housing Coalition is dedicated to promoting equitable and sustainable communities to ensure all Utahns have a safe and affordable place to call home

This story is provided by AARP Utah. Visit the AARP Utah page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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