For Immediate Release
September 14, 2018
Contact: Melissa Chalker
Trenton—New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) and its partners have released recommendations to address a crucial need to expand the amount of affordable housing available to seniors in the Garden State.
The increase in the aging population coupled with the lack of affordable and accessible housing in NJ has left many older adults wondering how they will be able to age in their own communities. Faced with increasing housing costs and limited affordable and appropriate housing options, some seniors feel they have no place to go.
According to the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index, which represents the cost of living expenses (housing, health care, transportation, food and miscellaneous) for elders age 65+ in New Jersey, “New Jersey elders cannot meet their basic living expenses whether they live at the Federal Poverty Level or the level of the average Social Security benefit.”
NJFA has set out to address the alarming lack of affordable housing for seniors with a group of stakeholders championing similar interests and goals. Some of the partners include the Supportive Housing Association of NJ, The NJ State Association for Jewish Federations, The Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, PennReach, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), many of the Managed Care Organizations (MCO’s) providing Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) services in NJ, such as Horizon NJ Health, Aetna, and United Healthcare, and the network of Age Friendly Communities throughout the state including, LifeLong Montclair, SOMA, and Lifelong Elizabeth. The stakeholder group also benefited from input from many state and local programs, including I Choose Home NJ, the NJ Div. of Aging Services, NJ Div. of Medical Assistance and the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
What began as a conversation in February of 2017, resulted in a Recommendation Report for policymakers to consider and act on.
“It is clear from our hands-on work in NJ and across the nation that our seniors are facing a real crisis in affordability,” said Kristin Miller, Metro Director for CSH. “The stories of older adults experiencing homelessness because they cannot find affordable, supportive housing are growing and heart-wrenching, and likely to get worse in the coming years. There is no way around it, we must find ways to create more affordable, supportive housing for those who want to age with dignity in their own communities.”
The recommendations range from system wide improvements, such as a cabinet level housing position and a one-stop system to streamline the application process, to increasing access through landlord incentives to rent to seniors, as well as age-friendly and accessibility measures. Releasing the report to a wider audience today, NJFA and The Stakeholder Group hope to spark a movement on accomplishing the recommendations in the report.
More information and the list of recommendations can be found by visiting NJFA’s website at: http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/policy-reports/