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Developing Appropriate Rental Housing for Low-Income Older Persons: A Survey of Section 202 and LIHTC Property Managers

Many older renters, particularly those with very low incomes, experience serious problems because their housing is unaffordable or does not support aging-in-place. The federal government has responded with a variety of housing strategies over the years to help alleviate the problem. Two of the major federal programs that continue to generate significant housing for older persons are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

This AARP Public Policy Institute Data Digest examines how these two major housing programs are serving the needs of older renters and finds that:

  • Many residents of Section 202 and LIHTC properties for older persons are advanced in age, and a significant number are frail or disabled. These residents are vulnerable to loss of independence and compromised quality of life, and may consequently be at risk of costly institutionalization.

  • The supply of both Section 202 housing and LIHTC housing is inadequate to meet the growing needs of low-income older renters, as evidenced by long waiting lists and low vacancy rates.

  • Section 202 and LIHTC properties intended for older persons are much more likely than other types of LIHTC properties to have architectural features needed for promoting aging residents’ independence.

  • Section 202 properties for older persons are more successful than their LIHTC counterparts in providing services for residents, such as onsite laundry, recreation, transportation, and assistance with personal activities.

The information is based on a special AARP survey of managers for Section 202 and LIHTC properties conducted between July and September 2006. (10 pages)

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