Seniors Housing Business

APR 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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Page 36 of 48

36 Seniors Housing Business n April 2018 Innovative. Capital. SOLUTIONS. Joint Venture Preferred Equity Mezzanine NNN Lease Roughly one-third of those older adults — 27 million — will earn less than 80 percent of the area median income by 2035, up from 15 million in 2015. The number of elderly renters earning 50 percent or less of the area median income, the threshold at which persons age 62 and above are generally eligible for federal rental assistance, will grow to 7.6 million. But there are not likely to be enough affordable places in which to live for these seniors. Nearly all the affordable seniors housing built or renovated in 2018 will be dependent on financing from the LIHTC program. Since Congress created the LIHTC pro- gram in 1986, it has financed more than 3 million units of affordable rental housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 202 program can also help gener- ate new affordable housing for seniors, but it has been hobbled by funding cuts. For example, the program recently received an infusion of $10 million from Congress. That's a tiny amount of money, just enough to keep the program from closing down altogether. With typical development costs of sev- eral hundred thousand dollars per unit, the funding would only pay for a few dozen new senior apartments. Other affordable housing prop- erties were once built with financ- ing from now-defunct HUD pro- grams like Section 8 and Section 236. HUD's aging buildings total roughly 5 million affordable apart- ments, including about 1.4 million reserved for low-income seniors. "Today, we only serve one-third of those who qualify for assis- tance," says Jennifer Molinsky, a senior research associate at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing and lead author of Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015- 2035. That means millions of low- income seniors struggle to pay for their housing without help. "There's been a significant increase in the number of senior households that pay more than half of their income for rent," says Linda Couch, vice president for housing policy for LeadingAge, a nonprofit seniors housing organi- zation based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on education, advo- cacy and applied research in the aging services field. The burden of housing costs often forces seniors, particularly those with low incomes, to cut back on other basic necessities. "The seniors who have the worst- case housing needs are spending much less… on food, transporta- tion and medicine," says Couch. Very low-income seniors who pay more than half of their income on rental housing spend one-third less on food compared with seniors who live in more affordable hous- ing. They also spend half as much on medicine and cut their spend- ing on transportation by more than half, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing. n Volunteers of America is preparing to submit an application to receive low-income housing tax credits for Senior Residences at Three Springs, a proposed affordable seniors housing community in Durango, Colo. The Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC) is building Corona Senior Residence, a 68-unit, energy-efficient, affordable seniors housing community in the Corona neighborhood of Queens. The $35 million project was funded in part by $12.8 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

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