Seniors Now Face 3-Dimensional Housing Challenge

| June 3, 2014

The majority of Americans think finding quality affordable housing is a challenging obstacle and, despite experts’ opinions that the housing crisis is over, 70% of the American public thinks the country is still in the midst of it or that the worst has yet to come — and seniors are no exception, according to a survey of housing attitudes conducted by Hart Research Associates. 

The second annual How Housing Matters Survey shows that seniors, like other age groups, face challenges in finding housing that meets their needs. 

“We asked whether [survey respondents] think the seniors and older people that they know … will face major challenges in three dimensions: finding housing that’s affordable, finding housing that meets their physical needs and finding housing near family or other social support,” Rebecca Naser, senior vice president of Hart Research Associates, told Senior Housing News at a webinar Tuesday announcing the survey results. “Six in 10 or higher feel that seniors will face major or at least some challenges in meeting those needs.” 

Survey results show that 65% of respondents said seniors will face “some challenges” or “major challenges” in finding affordable housing; 66% said they will face some or major challenges in finding housing that meets their physical needs; and 58% said seniors will face some or major challenges finding housing that is close to family or other social supports.

A majority of Americans have concerns about the availability of affordable housing for the aging population.

“Many seniors may choose or feel compelled to relocate, and the public believes that their own communities do not provide sufficient affordable housing for seniors,” a supplemental report to the survey says. 

Nearly 60% of Americans and 56% of seniors feel that it is challenging for retired people or senior citizens to find affordable housing in their own communities, according to the report. 

However, seniors are not the only segment of the population who are experiencing the burden of the housing crisis.

These concerns are “similar to the concerns that the public expresses across those other groups [of the population],” Naser told Senior Housing News. 

The majority of Americans believe that in their community, it is challenging to find affordable quality housing, with 58% of respondents saying it’s challenging to find affordable quality rental housing and 59% saying it’s challenging to find affordable quality housing to buy. 

“The housing crisis is hardly a thing of the past,” Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, said at the webinar. “What we see throughout our research is the fact that the housing challenges in the past six years have left a significant impact on the [lives] of Americans.” 

Americans are also struggling to maintain their housing, as 52% of survey respondents report they have had to make at least one sacrifice in the past three years to cover their monthly rent or mortgage payments. These sacrifices, the survey explains, include taking on an additional job or more hours at work, cutting back on health care and healthy foods, running up credit card debt, moving to a less ideal neighborhood and no longer continuing to save for retirement. 

“One of the most important findings from this research and a reason that so many within the American public understand it … is that this is very real and very personal for Americans,” Naser said at the webinar.  

Written by Emily Study


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Category: Affordable Housing, Senior Housing, Senior Living

Comments (1)

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  1. Dave Wiltsee says:

    Results of this comprehensive survey should be deeply disturbing to everyone in the 50+ age group and to actual or potential caregivers. While 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes (per AARP), a combination of factors imply that roughly two out of three will face major obstacles in doing so. It is imperative that governments at all levels come to grips with this perplexing dilemma, for way too long pushed to the back burner of public policy.