Fact Sheet The Future of Public Housing: Special Issues Facing Older Adults and People with Disabilities
Olivia Fiol, Matthew Gerken, Susan J. Popkin
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Older adults and people with disabilities represent a growing share of public housing residents, and they face unique housing challenges, including high cost burdens and a housing stock that lacks accessibility features. In this case summary, we explore the demographic makeup and needs of older adults and people with disabilities living in public housing in order to help inform local practice and federal policy.

Why this matters

The number of older adults (age 62 and older) in the US is expected to double by 2060, when this demographic will represent almost a quarter of the general population. People living in public housing are also aging: the average age of all public housing residents is 52 years. In addition, a growing number of households in public housing include a member with a disability. For both of these groups, housing authorities will need to offer services and programs to cater to their unique needs.

What we found

  • Almost one-fifth of all public housing residents are older adults. A quarter are people with disabilities.
  • Most older adults in public housing who are the heads of their households are female. Almost fourth fifths of older adult heads of household live alone. One-fifth are at least 80 years old.
  • Older adult heads of household in public housing have an average income of about $16,600. Almost all have fixed incomes, and just 1 in 10 has employment income.
  • Older adults and people with disabilities represent between 10 and 30 percent of the population served by most public housing agencies.
Research Areas Aging and retirement Health and health care Disability equity policy
Tags Disability and long-term care Fair housing and housing discrimination Vouchers Housing affordability
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Research Methods Data analysis Data collection
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