The elderly population in the US: Projection of Needs

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The U.S. population of elders is doubling over the next few decades. How can we bring together existing resources for our elders effectively, today? What's already available to elders that simply needs finer coordination to be better utilized?

We know that better health happens through a well-connected, caring community. Peakfoqus research decided to analyze census data to understand readily available support for housing and health. Our preliminary research on housing, a difficult local issue in the Bay area, revealed readily available resources.

The US Dept of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. It appears there are many unused vouchers in our communities! Yet upon closer look, many communities such as SF have closed their applications for vouchers.

Further, people must independently find housing that will accept vouchers. With the housing shortages in SF and the Bay Area, this is another challenging area we are researching. We believe Peakfoqus and a number of another organizations can collaborate to find hidden, but readily available, solutions.

See below for our analysis of elder (65+) census data and housing voucher programs in California.

U.S. Elder Population, 2017 - 2060

Doubling over the next few decades.

Video credit - Peakfoqus, http://peakfoqus.com

Elder_housing_vouchers_CA_2016.png

Data: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Accessed August 2017. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/national-and-state-housing-fact-sheets-data

Image credit - Peakfoqus, http://peakfoqus.com

What are housing choice vouchers?

The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.