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Issue Brief: Low-Income Older Adults Face Unaffordable Rents, Driving Housing Instability and Homelessness

by Patti Prunhuber; Vivian Kwok

Feb 16, 2021

Older adults are at the center of the nation's housing affordability and homelessness crisis. Older adult renters are more likely to pay a large proportion of their income for rent than the population as a whole, and this extreme rental cost burden places them at increased risk of housing instability and homelessness. In many parts of the U.S., low-income older adults are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. 

Due to discrimination and higher rates of poverty, Black and Latinx older renter households are more likely than white older renters to face severe rent burdens. The pandemic has made the situation worse. Justice in Aging and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition co-authored a new issue brief, Low-Income Older Adults Face Unaffordable Rents, Driving Housing Instability and Homelessness, that dives into the data behind what's driving this crisis and offers policy solutions that will help ensure no older adult is pushed into homelessness.  

Solutions include investing in more affordable, accessible housing for seniors; increasing income supports for lower-income seniors; and making health care more affordable and accessible. These investments, combined with integrating affordable housing with community-based health and social supports, will go a long way toward solving the problem. 

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