Affordable housing is a critical need for our aging population.
According to a landmark 2014 report issued by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Foundation, more than a third of U.S. seniors pay 30 percent or more of their income to housing. And both the percentage of seniors who do so, and the percentage of income required to meet housing needs, are expected to continue rising.
“There’s a critical shortage of quality affordable apartments for low-income seniors across the country,” said Laura Lamb, Episcopal Retirement Services’ (ERS) President and CEO.
Now, thanks to $15.9 million in competitive tax credits awarded by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency last month, ERS can undertake two new projects to help fill that need locally and further expand its mission.
A growing need
The 2008 mortgage crisis and ensuing Great Recession hit Baby Boomers hard. Many, who had been members of the middle class before our nation’s hard times, saw significant portions of their retirement nest eggs wiped out.
Generally speaking, home builders and developers — who are keenly focused on the needs of the Millennial generation now in its prime earning years — haven’t offered much help.
But we are, through our Affordable Living by ERS initiative. We’re working with urban neighborhoods, rural suburbs, local governments and carefully selected developer partners to renovate, refurbish or newly construct mixed-use, vibrant apartment communities for lower-income older people throughout our region.
“It’s our goal to create a caring community where elders live with dignity and can remain healthy and independent as long as possible,” Lamb said.
We’re already seeing tremendous results. And our efforts are garnering strong support from community leaders.
Increasing affordable living space for the Tristate most vulnerable seniors.
ERS currently owns and operates 25 retirement communities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana for seniors with limited income. And we’re building more. The $15.9 million in competitive tax credits will allow ERS to undertake two new projects: Madison Villa in Cincinnati and Sunrise Terrace New Carlisle, Ohio.
“These tax credits will allow us to preserve the affordable housing at these locations and expand our mission,” said Kathy Ison-Lind, ERS’s VP of Affordable Living and In-Home Services.
Comprehensive renovations at Madison Villa are expected to begin next summer. If all goes according to schedule, it will reopen in 2019 with 95 refurbished units: Six efficiency apartments, 82 single-bedroom apartments and five two-bedroom apartments.
The project will also add new common spaces, an on-site clinic and other community-fostering features to assist residents and augment their quality of life. The resulting property will be managed by Affordable Living by ERS, and jointly owned by ERS and Madison Villa’s current, non-profit owner, Madisonville Homes for the Elderly.
Sunrise Terrace is also expected to start construction late next year and should be completed in 2019. The project will consist of a $6.2 million renovation of 48 one-bedroom apartments and central community building in New Carlisle, Ohio, 17 miles northeast of Dayton.
Unit improvements will include the installation of energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, updates to kitchens, and renovations to make bathrooms accessible and safer. As at Madison Villa, an on-site clinic, new common areas, and a fitness and wellness center will be added to the community.
“Seniors receive supportive and health services in our Affordable Living communities,” Ison-Lind said. “It’s one of the innovative differences that our organization is proud to offer.”
Affordable Living by ERS will manage Sunrise Terrace, which will likewise be jointly owned by ERS and the community’s existing non-profit owner, Senior Citizens Associates, Inc.
“We look forward to providing comfortable and well-designed living options and supportive services that will enrich the lives of older adults in both of these communities,”
Laura Lamb, Episcopal Retirement Services’ (ERS) President and CEO.