Seniors threatened by insufficient affordable housing supply, study finds

Affordable housing is proving to be a problem for seniors, which could become more severe as the nation ages, according to a new report.

The U.S. could be facing a housing crisis if more isn't done to meet the needs of the country's aging population, asserts a new study conducted jointly by the AARP Foundation and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The report, "Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population," indicated that by 2030, the population of people over the age of 50 is expected to grow to 133 million, a 70 percent increase since 2000.

This could be a problem however without something being done to make homes more affordable, as the report noted that low-cost housing is in "too short supply."

Home prices have risen consistently on a month-to-month basis for more than two years, according to the latest statistics from global property information firm CoreLogic.

"Recognizing the implications of this profound demographic shift and taking immediate steps to address these issues is vital to our national standard of living," said Chris Herbert, acting managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. "While it is ultimately up to individuals and their families to plan for future housing needs, it is also incumbent upon policy makers at all levels of government to see that affordable, appropriate housing, as well as supports for long-term aging in the community, are available for older adults across the income spectrum."

Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation, added that as people grow older, their need for affordable housing often becomes more acute, largely as a result of some individuals who don't get paid as much in retirement as they did when they were working full-time.

"High housing costs, aging homes, and costly repairs can greatly impact those with limited incomes," said Ryerson. "The goal in our support of this report is to address the most critical needs of these households and it is AARP Foundation's aim to provide the tools and resources to help them meet these needs now and in the future."

September is National Preparedness Month
In addition to a financial plan, something else seniors need is a strategy for what to do if their home is ever threatened by an emergency. For about 50 percent of Americans, many haven't discussed this type of planning with their loved ones, based on a poll from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With September being National Preparedness Month, homeowners are encouraged to put together a plan of action that maps out where everyone should go during an urgent situation. Families should also be sure to update their home insurance policies, which provide financial protection in the event of property damage.