California Senior Advocates Press for Affordable Housing

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Many older Californians face special challenges in finding affordable housing built to meet their needs. Photo Credit: Alexander Isreb / Pexels

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California faces an enormous shortage of affordable housing, and a group that advocates for older residents is looking for solutions.

This week, AARP California published a new report on the need for housing. It’s the result of months spent convening experts and stakeholders to tackle the issue of affordability.

Rafi Nazarians, associate state director for AARP California, said the state can shore up support for affordable housing by reinvigorating the social compact between generations.

“It refers to an implicit agreement between generations, to share resources and support one another across phases of life,” Nazarians asserted.

The report found there’s a strong perception older adults tend to oppose affordable-housing projects in their areas when they come up for local approval.

AARP wants to reframe the issue, hoping to increase support among its millions of members for projects that allow everyone in a community to thrive.

Nazarians noted the research shows red tape is another huge obstacle to getting new housing approved and built, because it can take years to comply with a thicket of environmental, land-use and zoning regulations.

“The largest area of consensus was on the need for a much-simplified process, at all levels of government and at all junctures of development of affordable housing, in California,” Nazarians explained.

The demand for affordable housing specifically designed for older adults is likely to increase. Statistics show by 2030, one in three Californians will be over age 50, and 17% will be over age 65.

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