Advocates for senior citizens are joining with several state lawmakers in urging Congress to restore funding to an Affordable Housing program for the elderly. They say the lack of federal funds comes at a time when the senior population in Florida continues to grow and thousands of low-income seniors are still on waiting lists for low-cost housing...Read/Hear More>>
FLARA President, Tony Fransetta stands wilth EHDOC, Ex. Dir., Steve Protulis at a press conference to restore funding to affordable senior housing
Tony Fransetta joined by Senator Joseph Abruzzo and State Represenatives Mark Pafford, Dave Kerner and Ricardo Rangel after press conference at the capitol supporting Florida Senior Housing
One of two FLARA press conferences supporting Florida seniors by restoring affordable senior housing and rejecting House Bill 7011 which strips away FL. public workers' defined benefit pension plan, March 11, 2013
For elder Floridians to live self-sufficiently, one of their basic needs is suitable and affordable housing. Secure, affordable housing can mean the difference between anxiety and peace of mind, poverty and well-being and even illness and health.
While there’s an image of affluent Florida retirees living in luxury golf communities, that is far from the reality faced by most aging Floridians and Americans. With the economic melt-down in real estate and the stock market, Americans of all ages face losing their homes. This is especially dire for seniors who often don’t have the resources or additional years of employment to dig out of the housing crisis. Too many seniors either pay too much of their income for shelter or live in substandard conditions. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development lists 4.9 percent of Americans, or 5 million people living in what is considered “worst-case housing.”Of that 5 million, 1 million are elderly.
But the problem is greater than that. While 80 percent of the nation’s elderly people own their homes outright, those homes often are inadequate to meet their needs. Often elderly people have older homes that require repairs or remodeling. With fixed incomes, there is little money for those jobs, meaning a constant degradation to those homes. In addition, many seniors reside in homes that no longer meet their needs. Many seniors are trapped in homes that are too large, too remote from services or ill-equipped for a senior’s changing needs. Modifications to doorways, kitchens and bathrooms to accommodate handicap aids such as handrails, walkers, wheelchairs or free-entry showers can be cost-prohibitive
The 20 percent of remaining seniors who rent, representing 4.3 million households, are some of the worst-situated. According to 2003 data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 1 million seniors were paying more than half their income for housing, leaving little for food, clothing and medicine, or living in severely substandard housing.
In the past few years, one of the most successful federal assisted housing programs, the federal Section 202 Elderly Housing Program, has been short-changed.Once a program for moderate income seniors, it now focuses on only very low income elderly. There are currently eight low-income seniors on the waiting list for each available Section 202 housing unit.
FLARA recommends that there be a significant increase in funding for the Section 202 Senior Housing Program, as well as reforms to enable development of mixed-finance and mixed-use senior housing.
Creative Partnerships for Housing Needs
While the private sector provides many valuable goods and services essential for older consumers, it is important to recognize that many seniors with limited income cannot compete in the market place. Therefore it is vital that effective partnerships be developed between the public and non-profit sectors to ensure that elder Floridians of all income levels are able to have choices of suitable and affordable housing, support services and health care. One such non-profit is the Florida-based Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation (EHDOC). Its mission is to develop and operate affordable senior housing. EHDOC has been nationally recognized as a leader in the development and operation of quality affordable housing for our elderly.
Currently, there are 35 million seniors aged 65 and older with projections for that number to double by the year 2030. Public and private sectors need to work with mission-based non-profit organizations now through a serious financial commitment in affordable housing and services to prepare fore the rapid increase in the elderly population.
FLARA urges that the state of Florida in collaboration with federal and local governments, develop effective partnerships with EHDOC and other such non-profit organizations to ensure all elder Floridians have access to affordable housing, health care and services.
For additional information on affordable senior housing please visit Elderly Housing and Development Corporation (E.H.D.O.C.) at the link below.