Diskin writes of the “gaping hole in the housing marketplace for seniors.” When The Brookdale Senior Residence in Teaneck opened in April of 2016, “Its 61 apartments were all spoken for before the ceremonial ribbon was even cut, and its wait list climbed to 10 years within weeks of its opening.”
“The average annual Social Security benefit for a single senior citizen in Bergen is less than $19,000, and for an estimated 30 percent of New Jersey seniors, Social Security is the only form of income. Yet, a single senior renter in Bergen County spends about $15,000-a-year on housing costs alone, which leaves many skimping on basics such as food, transportation or health care as a way to make rent each month. Those grim statistics come from the 2016 New Jersey Elder Economic Security Standard Index, a state Division of Aging Services measure of the income that retired adults need to meet basic monthly expenses.”
“The analysis reveals the troubling economics of growing old in New Jersey, where an estimated 54 percent of retired elder?only households have incomes too meager to insulate them against poverty as they age.”
Retired and aging elder-only households without incomes to protect them from poverty face the risk of homelessness.
In order for housing to be considered affordable, an individuals or household should pay no more than 30% of its income for housing. This allows for the remaining income to be left to pay for the basic needs of food, transportation, health care, medication, etc.
Congressman Lance told advocates to urge their colleagues in other states to invite leadership in the U.S. House Appropriation Committee to visit affordable housing developments in their communities to help make the case for increased funding.
Diskin points out that “What the Brookdale example shows is that Bergen County has to move away from its long history of resistance to affordable housing to a future where the needs of all seniors – including those with low and middle incomes – are prioritized.” It can be argued that this is true for many other, if not all, communities across New Jersey.
“In a dozen years, one in five New Jerseyans will be over 65. It’s long past time for communities to plan for what their aging populations will need.”