The Real Deal New York

“Explosion” of number of seniors in shelters could hit NYC

Shortage of affordable housing for elderly growing worse, says comptroller
April 29, 2014 01:20PM

The hunt for housing is an increasing challenge for New York City’s senior citizens, as Social Security checks fail to keep up with the rising cost of rent and the number of names on affordable housing lists nears 4,000.

New York’s elderly population is its fastest growing. The Big Apple will have as many residents aged 65 and older as those of school age by 2030, with that portion of the population composing 15.5 percent of all residents, compared to 12 percent now. New York’s older population also has a disproportionate number of renters, and almost a quarter of those adults live in poverty, the New York Times reported.

Still, of the 165,000 units of affordable housing created or preserved under Mayor Bloomberg, fewer than 10,000 were allotted to older residents, according to a recent report from the Council of Senior Centers and Services. And the comptroller’s office dubbed the city “woefully behind other areas of the country in providing viable subsidized and market-rate options suitable for and affordable to seniors” in its own report, released last week.

“Absent a concerted effort, we’ll see an explosion of elderly people in shelters,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer told the Times.

New York also has a comparatively lower number of market-rate assisted-living and retirement communities than comparable metropolitan areas because the cost of rehabilitating older buildings is so high, a housing industry expert told the Times. [NYT]Julie Strickland