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Seniors, Housing, and Health: Financial Challenges of Low-Income Older Americans

Fourteen percent of older adults—6.5 million people in 2013—do not have enough income to meet their needs. While health care costs dominate the debate about older adults’ needs and retirement preparedness, older adults spend much more on housing than health care. The burden of housing and health care costs can significantly reduce financial security at older ages. How can we align housing and health services to better meet the needs of low-income seniors? What policy solutions can we develop to ensure that seniors are able to afford both their housing and health needs and maintain a good quality of life as they age?

On October 26th, Richard Johnson, director of the Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy, described the financial challenges facing seniors and the implications of high housing costs for low-income older adults, especially those with health problems.  A panel of experts then discussed ways to better align housing and health to serve seniors.


Opening remarks:

  • Erika Poethig, Institute fellow and director, urban policy initiatives, Urban Institute


  • Richard Johnson, director, Program on Retirement Policy, Urban Institute

Panel and Q&A:

  • Erika Poethig, Institute fellow and director, urban policy initiatives, Urban Institute (Moderator)
  • Linda Elam, deputy assistant secretary, Office of Disability Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Judy Feder, Institute fellow, Urban Institute
  • Michelle Norris, president, National Church Residences Development Corporation
  • Dennis Shea, consultant,  Health and Housing Task Force, Bipartisan 
Event Materials

Date & Time Monday, October 26, 2015
Russell Senate Office Building 2 Constitution Avenue NE
Room 385
Washington , DC , 20002
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  • Senior Fellow
    Director, Program on Retirement Policy
  • Institute Fellow