Northeastern Ohio challenged to meet housing needs of aging population on site


Baby boomers have changed the face of America, with the post-WWII generation turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day, according to the US Census. By 2030, all baby boomers will have passed this age threshold.

This demographic will need a place to live, even if they need to downsize or move to more senior-friendly single-story spaces. In Cuyahoga County – where seniors now outnumber children, according to figures from the United Way of Greater Cleveland – efforts are underway to provide livability-focused housing options for the elderly and the elderly.

As cities and suburbs across the region continue to push for aging-in-place solutions, it’s about maximizing available opportunities, said officials and industry observers interviewed by Crain’s. In a sector marked by slowing housing starts and rising construction costs, seniors who want to stay independent will need help.

“The high demand and construction prices mean you’re selling homes in some of these downtown neighborhoods for plus or minus $ 300,000,” said David Sharkey, president of Progressive Urban Real Estate, a company specializing in real estate. Cleveland urban residential market. “Unless there is a grant, that person might want a ranch in old Brooklyn or Parma or Garfield instead.”

Sally Martin, Housing Manager for the City of South Euclid, said “livability” is key to defining senior-friendly housing. For Martin, that means welcoming all phases of life, from growing families to empty nests to recently retired people. With 16% of its population aged 65 and over – according to 2020 U.S. Census figures – the inner suburbs constantly receive calls from older citizens concerned about aging safely in place.

As an extension of the federally and locally funded Green Neighborhoods Initiative, the South Euclid Community Development Corporation sold vacant land to private developers, leading to 29 new homes in the city, some with bathrooms. bathrooms and bedrooms on the first floor as well as easily accessible laundry areas. equipped with a stacked washer and dryer.

While these “hotbeds” appeal to first-time homebuyers, non-home buyers and retirees alike, Martin knows that livability is of particular importance to those struggling. with chronic illnesses or disabilities – or at least for people who fear visiting parents will have to climb the stairs to the bathroom.

The Green Neighborhoods Initiative was launched at the height of the housing crisis at the end of the year to rehabilitate and resell homes in distress. A decade later, a low tide of housing starts is pushing back empty nesters and those seeking continued independence through isolated housing accessible to the elderly. At the same time, South Euclid continues to advocate with private developers for age-friendly construction.

“The price has to be low enough to be affordable for the elderly,” Martin said. “People want to pay cash and not have a mortgage, but they’re not ready for a retirement community. They don’t want to be above someone else or have HOA fees.”


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