Seniors facing affordable housing crisis

Not enough affordable housing for aging Americans

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many members of the Holyoke Senior Center are concerned that once they need assisted living, they won’t be able to afford the cost, and they’re not alone.

Retired nurse Susan Aiken told 22News that between living at home (as she does) or going to a nursing home, the options are slim for most of Holyoke’s 7,000 senior citizens.

“They probably need some supervision, some other things, meal preparation, but they don’t need 24 hours nursing care,” Aiken said.

Seventy year-old Richard Quenneville says that he may have to look at alternative housing options eventually.

“Sooner or later, I will be looking for some housing to take care of me If my wife passes and somewhere we have to have affordable housing programs,” Quenneville said.

A study by the AARP foundation predicts a 70% increase in the number of seniors by the year 2030. Holyoke Council on Aging director Kathy Bowler told 22News that her city needs more senior housing like the Elmwood Towers, but construction isn’t keeping pace with the need.

“Housing can be a real expense for people. When people are looking to downsize in a private home, the options are pretty limited,” Bowler said.

The AARP warned that until more moderately-priced units are built, the high cost of housing will force many seniors to cut back on necessities including health care and food.

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