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Housing for Aging Veterans: Challenges and Solutions

Experts discuss need for affordable housing

(Use the scroll bar at the side of the video playlist to see all video titles and descriptions.)

There are about 22 million veterans in the United States, an inspiring group of servicemen and women of nearly every age and background. Unfortunately, these heroes are more likely to experience the challenge of homelessness than other Americans. A federal report found 76,000 veterans were homeless on a given day in 2009, and about 136,000 spent one night in a shelter that year.

See also: Purple Heart Homes helps older veterans.

Additionally, about four out of every 10 veterans are age 65 or over, having served in such conflicts as Vietnam, Korea and World War II.

In this set of videos, Tim Cantwell Jr. (president of Cantwell Anderson Inc.) and Stephen Peck (CEO of the United States Veterans Initiative, or U.S. Vets) discuss many aspects of providing housing for older veterans, including the needs of aging vets and how they differ from those of younger vets.

As Peck points out, the creation of permanent, affordable housing is essential in order to stabilize the population of older veterans. Many communities, however, don't want low-income housing nearby. Overcoming this feeling of "not in my backyard" or "NIMBYism" is one of the challenges in providing housing for aging veterans.

In addition to housing, older veterans need access to health care, transportation and other services. Both Cantwell Anderson and U.S. Vets provide or work with partners to offer health care access and other important support services to their residents.

Also of interest: Honoring our veterans. »

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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.