The majority of older adults want to age in their homes and communities — but they need accessible and affordable housing options to remain independent, the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Shannon Guzman told lawmakers during a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill.
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Guzman served as an expert on the state of housing for older Americans, describing conditions as “precarious for too many older adults and their families.”
“The number of older adults wanting to remain in their homes as they age has remained relatively consistent for more than a decade and was not impacted by the pandemic,” Guzman, a senior strategic policy advisor at AARP Public Policy Institute, noted in her written statement. “However, our homes and communities are generally ill-prepared to make this possible.”
Guzman urged Congress to act to improve the state of housing for older adults, who by 2034 are expected to outnumber children for the first time in the U.S. She noted that more than a third of older households include someone who struggles with mobility issues and that many can’t afford to make home modifications that would help them live more comfortably and safely. More than 10 million households were cost-burdened even before the onset of the pandemic, meaning that housing costs ate up more than 30 percent of their annual income.
Guzman called on lawmakers to invest in public housing and rental assistance for low-income adults, to enforce fair housing laws, to incentivize zoning reform among state and local governments and to promote accessible and affordable home modification and repair programs, among other efforts.
Read her testimony, and watch a recording of the hearing.
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