The National Housing Conference (NHC) and senior advocacy group AARP detailed a collaboration this week to “bring together experts and housing leaders to explore the core aspects of creating vibrant and inclusive communities,” according to a joint announcement.
The organizations co-hosted a forum on Tuesday called “Building Livable Communities for All Generations,” which began with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman discussing initiatives spearheaded by the Biden administration to fashion such communities.
“Building livable communities is about making space for people to thrive,” Todman said during the event. “Through building and maintaining affordable housing, improving internet connections, reducing healthcare costs, and investing in our infrastructure, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in thriving communities and people like never before.”
AARP introduced the latest version of its Livability Index platform, which provides scoring for communities across the U.S. based on “services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most as they age,” the organizations said.
“The Livability Index data shows that most of the highest scoring communities lack affordable housing and accessibility options, underscoring the need for local leaders to implement policies that address rising housing costs, insufficient supply of housing options, and growing income inequality,” the NHC and AARP said.
While aging in place is far and away the preference for most older Americans, many communities simply aren’t designed for it, according to Rodney Harrell, AARP’s VP of family, home and community.
“Everyone has a role to play [in improving our communities] – from community members to researchers, to local advocates and policymakers – to help fill the gaps between what people want and need and what their communities provide, so more older adults can live independently,” Harrell said.
NHC President and CEO David Dworkin detailed the crossover potential for the Livability Index alongside NHC’s “Paycheck to Paycheck” database, which takes stock of different occupations’ ability “to afford typical housing in metropolitan areas across the country.”
“Affordability and livability are essential components of what makes our communities home,” said Dworkin at the event. “The Paycheck to Paycheck database, which data was previously updated only on a quarterly basis, now offers an annual snapshot of housing affordability across the country through year-over-year data comparisons. This snapshot sheds light on the growing impact of rising housing costs on homebuyers and renters.”