The Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force, which we co-chair, recently released a report urging the greater integration of health care with housing as vital to helping America’s rapidly expanding senior population age more successfully. Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros (left) and Mel Martinez co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. A growing body of evidence is showing that more tightly linking senior health and housing has the potential to improve health outcomes for older adults, reduce medical costs, and enable millions of Americans to “age with options” in their homes and communities. To realize these considerable benefits, however, seniors must have access to affordable housing. Without access to such housing and the stability it provides, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce a system of home- and community-based supports that can enable successful aging.
"Since the recession, the number of new entry-level homes plummeted. Builder online even declared the starter home 'nearly extinct' last year. "However, the analysis of the 2016 Builder 100/Next Builder list points out an increasing number of builders are devoting at least 50 percent of their business to building entry-level homes. While the numbers are rising, the entry-level market is still a fraction of what it once was in 2010."
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, but here is a good starting point: at home. Studies show how stable, sustainable housing is crucial in revitalizing neighborhoods and is central to the healthy development of children. Yet millions of low income families struggle for a quality home and it’s only getting harder to find safe, clean affordable housing. According to the Urban Institute, there were only “28 adequate and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renters in 2013, down from 37 in 2000.” Meanwhile, per the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the number of extremely low-income renters jumped from 8.2 million to 11 million between 2000 and 2013. HUD’s voucher program allows low income tenants to pay 30% of their income for rent. However, this program continues to come under increasing Congressional budgetary pressure, while the program only meets a fraction of demand.