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Seniors Face Dire Affordable Housing Crunch

Studies are sounding the alarm on the greater need for more affordable housing for U.S. seniors.

For example, a recent study by the rental advocacy group Make Room reports that the percentage of seniors who are in need of affordable housing is climbing faster than the increase in the nation’s elderly population.

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The study notes that between 2005 and 2014, the senior population – those aged 65 or older – rose 25 percent (from 22.5 million to 28.1 million). Also, the number of seniors who are paying more than half of their household income – before taxes – toward rent and utilities surged by 34 percent (from 1.4 million to 1.8 million), according to Make Room’s analysis.

Many senior communities across the country are at capacity and are even maintaining lengthy wait lists of interested residents.

“A lot more could be done,” says Daryl Carter, chairman and CEO of Avanath Capital Management, an investment firm. “We should be able to triple the $6.5 billion that we currently spend on the tax credit program. There’s just simply not enough assistance to address the affordable needs we have in this country.”

Despite high demand, older adults are finding an inadequate supply of senior housing, add Ron Mehl, senior housing developer with Dominium, based in Minneapolis.

“Some states get it, but others are not putting the tax credits out there,” Mehl told National Real Estate Investor. “It’s just so difficult to keep with demand, but there’s such a demand out there. With tax credits, we can keep unit cost down to $900 per month, compared to the market rate of about $3,000 per month.”

Source: “Country Faces Overwhelming Need for Affordable Seniors Housing Options,” National Real Estate Investor (April 18, 2016)

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online (, April 18, 2016, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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