Affordability across rural and urban areas

Maine is one example of a specific state that has several factors stacking up against its affordable and accessible housing: the demographics of the state, expensive property taxes, a large number of rural areas and a poor housing stock. In some cases, homes are so old that they’re literally falling down around their homeowners, Lori K. Parham, state director of AARP Maine, told HHCN.

“When I am traveling the state and talking to Mainers, the top issue that comes up is property taxes,” Parham said. “We are seeing people in big old homes, in rural areas that just can’t keep up with costs. We also have a real shortage in affordable housing.”

Of Maine’s older population, 37% have low incomes, or incomes of 80% or less than the area’s median income, according to “A Profile of Maine’s Older Population and Housing Stock,” from Rockville, Maryland-based Apt Associates, a global research firm, released in 2015.

While the issue can be felt in rural areas, urban areas have a similar problem.

“I would guess that most of our [Village] members have a rent controlled apartment or they own their home,” Kate Hoepke, executive director of the San Francisco Village and chair of the leadership team at the Village Movement of California, told HHCN. “If they’ve moved here recently they’re having to deal with astronomical prices, if they’ve been here for awhile they are kind of flying under the radar.”

San Francisco Village was founded in 2009 and includes more than 340 current members, between the ages of 60 to 96 years old, across 25 different neighborhoods. Village Movement of California is a statewide coalition of villages that are banding together to increase visibility, invigorate California villages and build momentum for the movement.

Written by Kaitlyn Mattson

As Seen in SRES Association Newsletter