DES MOINES – A group that often gets left out of the affordable housing conversation is seniors. However, with inflation rising Social Security and other fixed-income isn’t keeping up with increases in housing costs.
Brad Anderson, the Iowa AARP State Director, said that over the past six months more seniors have had to find ways to make their Social Security checks last.
“Over the last six months, we have absolutely seen more and more families coming together and figuring out creative ways to stretch their dollar and stretch those social security checks,” Anderson said. “And one of those options is to move in with a caregiver and be closer to home.”
Staying with family or other caregivers is one option that not all seniors have. Anderson said the solution to affordable housing for seniors is more supply at all levels.
“We really need to do more when it comes to a strategy within central Iowa on providing more affordable housing options and that’s one of the things that AARP is really focused on are those options,” Anderson said.
The City of Des Moines recently passed zoning changes that would ease the requirements for residents to build accessory dwelling units which are things like a coach house, mother-in-law suite, or room above a garage. This is a good option for seniors who need to live near their caregivers.
The city council also approved a new senior living complex to be built near Southridge Mall. Iowa has around half a million seniors and is expected to have even more in the future so new development is crucial in keeping housing affordable.