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Speaking at the AARP National Policy Council

Posted: May 10, 2014

What an honor to be invited to speak at the meeting of the AARP national policy council.  As you might expect, the room was filled with highly-intelligent, fully-committed professionals with a deep understanding of the issues facing the nation’s older adults.  I shared the podium with two incredible experts in the field of housing finance—Bill Apgar from Harvard and Tom Gleason from MassHousing.  We complemented each other’s points well.  Bill was able to give an insightful characterization of housing finance and reform status, while Tom focused on programs at the state level to use the funds offered by the federal and state governments.  My part was to look at the housing finance system from the perspective of a local, mission-driven developer and property owner.  I essentially made 4 points:

  • Senior housing should be the FIRST choice for successful aging based on all the research and documented outcomes.
  • The housing finance system as it’s evolved for multi-family rental senior housing, has become more complicated and difficult—and the sheer transaction costs for deals has skyrocketed.
  • We have not yet incorporated the need to fund ongoing support services into our housing finnce system and we must to capture all the potential benefits of senior housing.
  • Federal and state policy makers should favor mission-driven developers and those willing to build senior housing.

We all agreed about the centrality of senior housing as the nation addresses the demographic bulge from the aging of the baby boomer generation—whether because of the improved health outcomes, the significant cost efficiencies of avoiding/postponing nursing home care or the increased well being/happiness perspective.   In my conversations with members of the national policy council, we all agreed of the importance of a serious focus on documentation of outcomes proving senior housing is cost effective, efficient and impactful.

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