Programs

HUD announces new investments in aging-in-place programs for seniors

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it will add new funds to programs designed to facilitate aging-in-place goals specifically for older Americans to address persistent livability issues. older people and to enable more older people to stay where they are.

This presents an alternative to moving to an assisted living facility or nursing facility later in life. That’s according to an official announcement from HUD and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge at an event in Minneapolis Monday morning.

The additional funding, $15 million, will be rolled out nationwide. To be eligible, a beneficiary must be at least 62 years old and have 80% or less of their local median income. On site in Minneapolis, federal officials estimated that figure would be around $85,000 for a family of four.

The need for American seniors to age in place

The event in Minneapolis brought together Secretary Fudge along with U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D) and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey at the home of Betty and John Smith, a couple who benefited from a federal program that allowed their house to be renovated with aging improvements in place.

Prior to her remarks, the secretary highlighted the quality of the Smiths’ home and said the renovations will keep them there for years to come, a goal out of reach for many American seniors today.

“We’re in a nation now where most older people can’t live the way they do,” Fudge said, referring to the Smiths. “To live in their homes with dignity and the support they need. We have not done a good job of taking care of our elders.

Fudge then recalled a 1977 line from former U.S. Vice President and Senator Hubert Humphrey in which he said, “[…]The moral test of government is how this government treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are at the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

HUD Secretary: Aging in Place ‘Can Be Done’

Fudge expressed his belief that this has not been adequately accomplished, especially for seniors, before announcing new funding for aging-in-place programs.

“I’m happy to be here because we can show people that it can work, it can be done,” she said, referring to the aging renovations on site. “This work was done with an outlay of $30 million from HUD. I am here today to announce an additional $15 million that we believe will allow over 5,000 more seniors to stay in their homes.

Media in attendance asked one of the subject matter experts on site at the event what the cost per home would be for home modifications designed to facilitate aging in place, estimating that the cost would likely be around $2. $500 per house. .

The previous $30 million program Fudge was referring to was announced in August 2021 and distributed to 32 separate nonprofits as well as state and local governments and public housing authorities for the specific purpose of renovating more homes to age in place. The Smiths who hosted Monday’s event were beneficiaries of that plan.

Cited examples of such detailed modifications under the previous program include the installation of grab bars in bathrooms or bedrooms, the addition of railings near stairwells, as well as handles for door and lever taps. Modifications may also include the installation of adaptive fittings, such as anti-slip strips for a tub/shower or stairs.

HUD also highlighted these efforts earlier this year in a newsletter from its Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH).

Aging in Place as a Global Issue

In her remarks, Secretary Fudge discussed specific issues regarding senior housing in America, but also mentioned that she has already had conversations with foreign dignitaries — and plans to have more — as several other countries face difficulties with regard to the aging of the population. Aging in place is a potential solution that other nations have shown interest in, the secretary said.

“Aging in place is a problem all over the world, not just here,” Fudge said. “I am going to Germany in about a week to talk about this same problem. I met the Japanese ambassador here to discuss the same issue. We have neglected to build enough senior housing in this country or allow people to stay in their homes. So I’m glad to be here to try to fix some of the issues that we know are a problem.

Aging in place has been becoming a mainstream preference among the world’s seniors for some time. In 2021, data from the New Zealand-based Heartland Group indicated that 89.9% of older people surveyed wanted to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

The adoption trajectory of capital release products in the UK – sometimes referred to as “life mortgages” or “retirement mortgages” in Europe – is visibly on the rise, and that is the hope of the industry in the UK. United and European Union members. Pensions and Property Asset Release Group (EPPARG) to expand what has been seen across more of the territory according to professionals who spoke at the virtual annual meeting of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in November 2021 .

Reverse mortgage investments in home renovations

Reverse mortgage companies have also invested in home modification efforts for potential synergies with the needs of older Americans. In 2021, Finance of America Companies announced the acquisition of the “Benji” home improvement finance option, which spun off into a new FoA vertical called Finance of America Home Improvement (FOAHI), which executives said of the company at the time, had major potential for interaction with other verticals such as Finance of America Reverse (FAR).

American Advisors Group (AAG) also announced in 2021 that it had entered into a partnership with VGM Live at Home as its official home equity solutions provider, potentially providing an option for members of the member community to fund home modification efforts via AAG’s government suite. -exclusive sponsored and matching reverse mortgage products.

Watch the HUD event in Minneapolis on the BlackPressUSA TV YouTube channel.