Housing, studies show, provides the greatest determinant of social well-being and health, particularly for low to middle income people living with chronic conditions, such as many seniors. Joshua Bamberger, a physician working with homeless seniors recently said that his greatest hope for America was that “no one over the age of 55 spend a night on the streets, a 55 year old homeless person has the health status of a 70 year old housed person,” and he feels that the housing and healthcare industries can do a lot more to ensure that low income seniors have adequate housing and healthcare.
THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING INDUSTRY NEEDS A ‘REBOOT’
Dick Burns, President & CEO of The NHP Foundation is proposing new strategies such as a “collaborative funding model of privatized housing vouchers to cover the rent for those in need,” and adds “Partnering with others in affordable housing as well as healthcare, investment, policy and social services, we can keep people from having to choose between housing and health.” The health industry is also heeding the call. Health insurance giant Kaiser Permanente recently pledged $200M toward affordable housing that will particularly aid those for whom medical care and housing costs are a serious burden. And the University of Illinois has seen successful outcomes arising from housing many at-risk seniors and others. “When all the partners in the housing and health equation commit to resources and investment, older Americans will have fewer concerns about aging well,” added Burns.
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