FREE SPEECH ZONE | The Coming Senior Housing Crunch is a Solvable Crisis

With the recent release of the US Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey and  results from the 2010 count imminent, we are poised to gain insight into how the demographics of our cities and neighborhoods are changing.  However, there is one demographic trend this data will likely show that should come as no surprise: seniors are making up a growing percentage of Minnesota’s population.   Unlike many societal shifts, this is a change that researchers have seen coming for quite some time.  With each passing life phase, this population cohort has left their mark on the landscape.  We built additional schools in the 1950s and 1960s to educate them.  We constructed additional houses and roads to reach them as they started families in the 1970s and 1980s.  Now, we must build once again as more and more of this generation transitions from work to retirement.  Chief among the concerns within the growing ranks of seniors is finding housing that both supports an independent lifestyle and is affordable on a fixed income.  While there are certainly new developments being created for those with ample financial resources, recently released data suggests that there is demand for a greater breadth of housing options. Five year estimates from 2005 to 2009 released by the US Census Bureau indicates that the rising cost of rental housing is a source of financial strain for many seniors across the state.  An analysis of this data performed by the Minnesota Housing Partnership shows that in 39 counties a majority of households headed by renters age 65 or older are spending 30 percent or more of their household income on housing.  Paying thirty percent of household income or more toward housing is the threshold used by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for defining a significant rent burden. Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Continue Reading