Thursday, October 6, 2011

Older adults hit hard by housing costs, recession

Housing costs are increasingly burdensome for Colorado’s older adults since the housing crisis and recession began in 2007. Older homeowners and renters routinely have a tougher time affording the rent or mortgage payments, and many low-income households face more unsustainable housing costs, new research shows.

AARP’s "State Housing Profiles 2011" shows nearly 35 percent of Colorado homeowners age 50 and older pay at least 30 percent of their incomes for housing costs. More than half of renters age 50 and older pay at least 30 percent for housing costs. These numbers show a dramatic rise in the housing burden since 2000.

AARP report echoes CCLP’s findings that neither median income nor Social Security allow for elder economic security. According to CCLP’s Elder Economic Security Index, a single person age 50 and older needs to bring in at least $28,260 a year solely to meet expenses, a significantly higher amount than the $10,890 federal poverty level. The Elder Economic Security Index is explained in a CCLP policy brief, Elders Living on the Edge.

More data shows older adults are being disproportionally affected by the continuing effects of the recession, and Colorado’s low-income elders face financial challenges that threaten their economic security and the health of their communities. Elders face increasing expenses while their fixed incomes are eroded by weaknesses within the economy.

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