Report: Seniors stand to lose affordable housing

Apr 27, 2021, 4:39 PM | Updated: 5:21 pm
affordable housing project for seniors under construction...
Kier Construction continues work on Central Station, a development by Gardner Batt, at 549 W. 200 South in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The 65-unit affordable apartment community will have studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Utah’s seniors lose hundreds of affordable housing units every year, especially as the market for rental housing grows more expensive. Without changes in policy, a report claims the risk of senior homelessness will increase in Utah.

Finding affordable housing for seniors

The report Preserving Affordable Senior Housing Matters finds Utah stands to lose hundreds of subsidized housing units each year as leases expire and units are converted to market-rate rentals.

Utah Housing Coalition Fellow Otelo Reggy-Beane is the author of the report. He said the creation of new subsidized housing units is not keeping up with demand.

“We’re adding about 182 units each year to the subsidized senior-housing stock. We find that 120 of these units are just replacing the ones lost to subsidy expiration,” Reggy-Beane told a news media briefing on the report.

Seniors who depend on Social Security as their only income source struggle more with affordable housing. Many can afford no more than $235 per month to stay within the guidelines of 30% of income toward housing. Yet rent for the least-expensive studio apartments is at least twice that.

Recommended strategies

The report recommends four strategies to preserve the stock of affordable housing for seniors.

  • Incorporating senior housing preservation in moderate-income housing plans.
  • Establishing a dedicated funding source to preserve senior housing.
  • Adopting age-friendly zoning codes and taking advantage of a new state law that makes it easier to create auxiliary housing units, so-called “mother-in-law apartments” in residential zones.
  • Requiring one year’s notice when a landlord intends to convert subsidized units to market rate.

Other strategies could include increasing the housing available to seniors; one way to do that would be to require new apartment developments to include some affordable housing units.

Utah Housing Coalition Director Tara Rollins wants to see that happen.

“It’s easily obtainable,” she said. “If you’re doing a hundred, you could probably do two units that would be 30 percent of AMI [area median income] or lower, and that’s exactly what we need.”

Related: US home prices rose 11.9% in February, fastest since 2014

Alan Ormsby, the Utah State director of AARP, hopes the need to protect housing for seniors doesn’t get lost in the hot housing market.

“The biggest risk, I think, is that the market is moving in such an aggressive way that some of these projects might get missed unless we’re really conscientious in thinking about it,” Ormsby told KSL NewsRadio.

The report includes an interactive map detailing where affordable housing for seniors is concentrated in Utah along with other factors that can affect quality of life.

Read more: 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Ogden police investigate a man who shook a 8-week-old baby on multiple accounts....
Mark Jones

Ogden man in jail after allegedly shaking 8-week-old baby

An 8-week-old baby is in critical condition after being allegedly shook by the father. The father, a 20-year-old man from Ogden, has been arrested.
20 hours ago
Utah national parks no longer have a mask mandate...
Allie Litzinger

Number of visitors to Arches National Park is on the decline

Visitors to Arches National Park are on the decline in recent months. A time entry system designed to make for better visitor experience, may be to be blame for fewer visitors.
20 hours ago
Refinery flares safeguard fuel processing equipment if malfunctions occur...
Alejandro Lucero

Refinery flares are normal says Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Refinery flares might seem uncommon, but the Utah Department of Environmental Quality said they are normal and present no cause for concern.
20 hours ago
Utah ranks one of the top ten states to have a baby, new study finds....
Waverly Golden

Utah is a top ten state to have a baby says new study

According to a new study, Utah is among the top states to have a baby and has one of the lowest c-sections hospital costs.
20 hours ago
children at an assembly pictured. The first day of school is coming up...
Samantha Herrera

First day of school dates for schools along the Wasatch Front

The first day of the 2022-2023 school is just weeks away for most school districts along the Wasatch Front. Here's a list of those days.
20 hours ago
snapchat parents sextortion...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Snapchat rolls out option to let parents see who their teens are messaging

The new tool, called Family Center, promises to give parents more insight into who their teenagers are communicating with on the messaging app.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Report: Seniors stand to lose affordable housing