Issue Brief from RRF Foundation Focuses on Supporting Access to Affordable and Quality Housing

Mar 2, 2022

The RRF Foundation for Aging (RRF), with a mission to improve the quality of life for older people, released an issue brief on housing as part of a series on their grant-making activities.

According to the brief, about 16 million older adult households (33%) are “housing-cost burdened” in the eyes of the federal government, meaning they spend more than 30% of their resources on housing. But among older renters, the report says, the number is much higher with more than half (53% or 4.7 million households) being cost burdened and the racial inequities are clear and reflect decades of broad economic discrimination.

With data from the Elder Index developed by UMass-Boston and research from the Joint Center on Housing Studies at Harvard, the brief goes deeper into concerns around housing access for older adults and provides some promising activities, including:

  • University of Missouri–St. Louis is researching the need for and effectiveness of home repair programs for older homeowners in St. Louis. The results will shape recommendations for new city policies and a toolkit to help other municipalities conduct similar assessments.
  • In collaboration with Ohio State University, Mercy Housing Lakefront is providing certified training to staff at its affordable senior apartments across the Great Lakes region to become more familiar with issues affecting residents as they age. A goal is to help the staff build partnerships with local service providers supporting older adults.
  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness, in partnership with Justice in Aging, is launching a national effort to highlight older adult homelessness and advocate for federal funding to support housing and services for homeless older people.
  • The National Consumer Law Center is advocating for federal policy changes to enhance the rights of older people facing foreclosure on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. While such “reverse mortgages” can be very beneficial, predatory lending and the racial wealth gap have produced a disproportionate number of reverse
    mortgage defaults by Black and Latinx borrowers.