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Report: Demand for Senior Housing Could Balloon in MN

New numbers predict the shortage of affordable housing options for Minnesota seniors will continue to grow. (iStockphoto)
New numbers predict the shortage of affordable housing options for Minnesota seniors will continue to grow. (iStockphoto)
February 22, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. – New research shows Minnesota could soon see a significant boost in the demand for affordable senior housing.

By 2020, the state will – for the first time – be home to more people ages 65 or older than those ages five to 17, according to a new report.

But advocates for those seniors say Minnesota is unprepared for these changing demographics, and there's already a short supply of affordable senior housing in the state.

Barbara Dacy, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Minnesota chapter president, points to several growing problems laid out in the report. They include high rents, low vacancy rates and a cut in federal funding.

"The demography and the market is combining for a potential problem for the future," says Dacy.

To find solutions, NAHRO has been working with other organizations, including the Homes for All Coalition, asking Minnesota lawmakers to boost funding for senior housing.

The report notes that Minnesota has more than 23,000 affordable senior housing units, but with an additional 150,000 residents who qualify for those units, many prospective renters are left on long waiting lists.

Dacy is backing one idea that could help curb the shortage.

"The Homes for All Coalition is requesting up to $130 million of bonding," she says, "and $40 million is proposed to be used for affordable senior housing."

According to the report, most Minnesotans over age 65 are renters, living on incomes less than $30,000 a year. This age group also makes up the fastest-growing homeless population in the state.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN