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AARP Foundation Housing Report

— Paul Hellstern

5 Essential Facts From “Housing America’s Older Adults”

AARP Foundation sponsored a just-released report by The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University called “Housing America’s Older Adults — Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population.” The report highlights the many challenges the nation faces in providing affordable and adequate housing to an aging demographic whose numbers are increasing year by year. Learn a few key findings from the report.


Improving Access to Safe and
Affordable Housing

By 2030, one in every five Americans will be over age 65, and our nation will face a severe shortage in appropriate housing to meet their needs. As people age, they need housing that is structurally and mechanically safe and that accommodates people with disabilities. Those 50 and older also need safe communities, adequate transportation options and access to grocery stores, doctors and community activities. AARP Foundation is developing strategies to address the senior housing crisis and make all of our communities affordable and welcoming for people regardless of age or physical ability.

More About
Housing for Older Adults

As people age, their need for safe and affordable housing grows more critical. Yet today,approximately 19 million low-income 50+ households in America cannot afford their housing costs and/or live in inadequate housing. Many are paying over 30 percent of their household income to maintain housing that barely meets their physical needs. Many find themselves forced to choose between paying their mortgage or rent and buying groceries or medicine.


Their high housing costs also make it impossible to perform basic maintenance and add needed modifications like railings or ramps, making things more unsafe as they — and their homes — age. Many are also victimized by predatory lenders, who seek them out, rob them of their home equity and bury them with debt they cannot afford.

Housing and Health Care:
Partners in Healthy Aging

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How do housing-health partnerships work? How can you implement them and ensure their success? The recently released Housing and Health Partnerships toolkit can help you answer these questions.


The State of the Nation's Housing 2014

This report from Harvard University concludes that the U.S. housing recovery should regain its footing, but faces a number of challenges because of tight credit, still elevated unemployment, and mounting student loan debt. Report released June 2014. Read

Programs & Services

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Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50-plus homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

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AARP Benefits QuickLink

See if you qualify for public assistance and you can save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, and more! Go

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AARP Drive to End Hunger

Feeding people today, preventing hunger in the future. Join the fight to end hunger. Do

Older People And

Whether people 50+ own or rent, the repercussions from the recession are severe - abandoned neighborhoods, rent increases and a decrease in affordable, subsidized housing. Millions of homeowners can neither sell their homes nor receive approval to refinance their mortgages at today’s much lower interest rates. 



  • 19 million adults 50+ live in unaffordable or unsafe housing
  • Nearly 25% of household mortgages are underwater - meaning the mortgage is larger than the current value of the house.
  • Foreclosures have been at record levels.