Bipartisan Policy Center Releases Report Highlighting Housing and Health Care Troubles Facing American Seniors

WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Earlier this week, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) published a report about America’s expanding senior population and the challenges it will bring to the country’s existing health care and housing networks. The report, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, was developed by the BPC’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force, which is led by former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez and former U.S. Representatives Allyson Schwartz and Vin Weber.

According to the report, by 2030, seniors 65 and older will account for more than 20 percent of America’s population, a 6 percent increase from today. The report also says that the increasing number of aging Americans will place a substantial burden on existing systems, including senior housing and health care. Concluding that a comprehensive national approach to integrate health care and housing for seniors is necessary to counteract the increasing number of vulnerable Americans experiencing hardship as they age, the report makes four recommendations:

Build more affordable housing for seniors;
Enable more seniors to age in place;
Better integrate senior health care and housing; and
Embrace technology to support successful aging.

To address the lack of affordable housing available for seniors, BPC recommends significantly expanding the Housing Credit. In addition, the report recommends creating a new federal program that uses project-based rental assistance and the Housing Credit to finance new construction and attract funding for health care programs.

The report states that 88 percent of seniors responding to a 2014 AARP survey said they would like to stay in their current residence for as long as possible. However, according to the report, only 3.8 percent of housing units in America are adequately equipped to accommodate people with moderate mobility difficulties. Additionally, the report estimates that over the next 20 years nearly 40 percent of people over the age of 62 will have financial assets of $25,000 or less and 20 percent will have less than $5,000. To address this mismatch between housing needs and resources, BPC recommends that Congress create a new Modification Assistance Initiative under the Department of Health and Human Services that will ensure federal resources for home modifications are more effectively utilized and coordinated.

The task force found that the best way to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs for seniors is to focus on home care. Increased funding to programs and initiatives that will better enable seniors to age in place can improve the health of America’s seniors and significantly enhance their quality of life, according to the report.

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,400 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field.

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