Attainable Senior Housing
08/15/2017 – 12/31/2019
This Strategic Result supports the City Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) as it aims to facilitate the development through new construction or acquisition of an attainable housing development for seniors of 50 units or more in support of or in collaboration with private for-profit or non-profit entities. The Comp Plan includes a Goal (N-4.5) to "Promote affordable senior housing close to services and transit should be promoted by exploring a variety of programs, including but not limited to:
- allowing higher densities in appropriate locations
- land banking
- increased awareness of reverse mortgage programs
- changes to zoning regulations to allow accessory dwelling units
- infrastructure incentives
- reduced parking requirements
The Comp Plan implementation program calls for the following actions:
- Reviewing and amending the Land Development Code (LDC) to ensure senior housing and special needs projects are permitted in appropriate zoning districts,
- Identifying incentives or other financial tools to assist developers, and
- Marketing opportunity sites to developers.
The LDC has already been changed to allow for accessory dwelling units in a number of locations throughout the City. LDC update will occur in 2017-2018, providing an opportunity for community discussion on attainable housing and exploration of appropriate means to provide housing that is needed to match the needs of the community.
The increasing proportion of elderly residents in the City population combined with the overall increasing average age within it necessitates attention by the City toward the provision of attainable quality senior housing. Jefferson County Human Services (JCHS) recommends increasing the amount of accessible housing units for disabled seniors, and creating programs to help older owners shoulder housing cost burdens, such as property taxes and utility bills. It also calls for increased subsidies to older renters, and strengthened ties between housing and delivery of community-based healthcare services.
By 2035, one of every three U.S. households will be headed by someone aged 65 or older, according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). This represents an increase of 66 percent for a total of 50 million households. Households headed by people aged 80 and older will increase at the fastest rate - more than doubling to 16 million.
The number of seniors earning less than 80 percent of their area median income will nearly double by 2035, to 27 million, according to the report. These households will face significant challenges paying for housing and supportive services, with housing expenses taking up resources required for food and healthcare.
A recent Aging Well in Jefferson County Annual Report provided the following concerns for Jefferson County and Arvada:
- While a number of multi-unit, independent, affordable housing options have been developed, the waiting list for those units continues to grow. Affordable housing options of all types are needed in Jefferson County.
- Members of the Aging Well Leadership Committee report dealing with an increasing number of evictions, foreclosures and shortage of housing for seniors.
- There is a lack of guardians willing to care for those who have no one to look out for their best interests.
- Sequestration and other funding cuts are having a negative effect on services provided to Jefferson County’s seniors. For example, Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) closed their South West Adult Day site and cut transportation services impacting about 50 Jefferson County families.
- The fastest growth of those over the age of 60 will be between the years 2013-2020 according to the State Department’s Demography’s office. The fastest growing segment of the population are those over the age of 85. People over the age of 75 tend to be those most in need of services. While there is still time to bolster those services, planning and funding needs to begin now.