UTAH (ABC4) – The American Association of Retired Persons, AARP Utah, and the Utah Housing Coalition have released a Senior Affordable Housing Report showing what thousands of Utah’s senior households could experience in the coming years. 

By 2030, one in every five Americans will be over age 65, and the nation will face a severe shortage of appropriate housing to meet their needs, AAPR Utah shares. 

Utah, which is on the verge of a statewide affordable housing crisis, could lose over 40% of its federally subsidized rental units for low-income seniors over the next 25 years, according to AARP.

“More than 15% of the units could be lost by 2030,” AARP says in a press release. Without the resource of affordable housing, more than 3,000 senior households could experience housing instability and homelessness in the coming decades, the report shares. 

AARP Utah, in partnership with the Utah Housing Coalition, has released a comprehensive report — Preserving Affordable Senior Housing Matters — recommending several steps to make senior housing preservation a statewide priority. 

The steps include: 

  1. Incorporate senior housing preservation, specifically a roadmap for expiring units, in moderate income housing plans. 
  2. Establish a dedicated source of funding for senior housing preservation. 
  3. Adopt age-friendly zoning codes, including taking advantage of a new law that enables the creation of more ADUs in residential zones. 
  4. Implement a one-year notification requirement for expiring subsidized units. 

According to a recent AARP survey, nearly 90% of older adults in the U.S. want to remain in their current home as long as they can, but housing is the single biggest expenditure for most Americans.

“Rising home prices and rents, along with slow-growing incomes, can make it difficult for many households to find housing they can afford. It is particularly difficult for older adults living on fixed incomes,” AARP shares.

According to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, in 2015, more than 22% of all 65+ households— 6.4 million households — rented their homes. 

“As the older adult population is projected to grow, it is estimated that the number of older adult renter households nationwide will more than double between now and 2035,” AARP says in a press release.

According to AARP, unless Utah decides to act now to preserve its expiring subsidized senior housing, the state will lose 120 of the 182 units it is projected to gain each year. 

“We want our policymakers to be aware that in the last eight years, senior homelessness has tripled from 763 in 2011 to 2,170 in 2019. We will only see this statistic increased if we do not preserve and build more affordable housing for senior Utahns,” Tara Rollins, executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition, says.

“Senior housing preservation would not only maintain the affordability of the existing senior housing supply, but it would also avert the unnecessary displacement of thousands of low-income older Utahns.”