Out there where Amish families help other families build a barn in a day, a new concept on how to produce affordable housing for seniors is happening. The CEO of a CCRC Continuing Care Retirement Community in Lancaster Pennsylvania has come up with a different approach to providing privacy, affordable rents and social support for middle income seniors. This is finally a crack in the mindset of the ” if we build it fancy enough, they will buy in” sales approach of the senior housing industry. Miracle of all miracles, it did not depend on government funding. It is a community/ non profit solution to what will be a very public problem — too many seniors on their own who are not able to afford housing that keeps them independent and socially connected.
There is no doubt that there will be a shortage of affordable housing for middle income seniors. I had blogged earlier about the financial gap that is coming: https://waystostay.org/the-middle-of-everything/
Not everyone has a paid off house to sell to buy an expensive elevator building condo. Pensions are not as strong as they once were. Debt follows seniors into their later years. There are public programs but many people are above the financial standard for that help. Co-housing is also co-living but that it takes years of planning and a significant real estate investment as well. Assisted living averages 4000 to 6000 dollars a month.
This CEO of a non profit CCRC must have realized that upscale housing was sitting idle while the needs of the community were not being met. This was not a simple task. He brought together several community resources like Habitat for Humanity, local college kids and even volunteers from the adjoining retirement community to actually assist in building the first house at half the cost. At the base of this is the strong local Mennonite community.
As the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, it beats the golden girl concept as to sharing a house. What happens when the owner dies is no an obstacle. Read more about this welcome new approach at:
Co-living is the future for many seniors and it can happen when someone has a plan and pulls it together!