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Jul 25 2017

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Network Reviews Senior Affordable Housing

At June’s Senior Education Network meeting, a panel of distinguished speakers discussed affordable senior housing in Larimer County. The panel consisted of Diane Cohn with Lutheran Family Services, Sue Beck-Ferkiss with the City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Office, and Katy Mason with the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities. Over 30 professionals attended the network meeting to learn about the current affordable housing in Larimer County.

Cohn gave an overview of the current and future projections of the affordable and other senior housing facilities on a national, Colorado, and Larimer County basis. The Larimer County senior population over 65 years old was about 35,000 in 2010 and expected to expand to over 90,000 in 2040. Fort Collins is expected to be bulging at its borders, thus affordable senior housing will be a bigger problem in 2040. Currently, home builders are limited due to costs, future funding and labor shortages.

Ferkiss indicated in Fort Collins, there are about 1300 total affordable housing units as of 2015, but expected to nearly triple to 3100 units in 2050. Assisted Living has about 860 total units in 2015, whereas it will almost triple to 2250 units in 2050.

With the uncertainty of Medicaid funding by the governments, there is a possibility of less affordable units in Larimer County. Currently, there are three facilities in Fort Collins that accept Medicaid payments for senior housing but have a backlog.

Mason mentioned the PAFC priorities are to assure all seniors are able to live in their own homes or live in affordable housing. She indicated many seniors are isolated and lonely by living in their own homes, thus an initiative to allow multiple seniors share their homes in Fort Collins. The city is considering a home co-sharing pilot program for the seniors in early 2018. There are other services such as the popular SilverNest web services, that connects and matches seniors across the nation to share their homes. These are even cross-generational co-housing available at Grey Rock and River Rock facilities in Fort Collins. In the planning stages, Village Cooperative is a new concept where 55 plus owners own a part of their apartment and make maintenance payments. Overall, the affordable senior housing is progressing slowly but needs more housing availability based on the future population projections. Please call the county’s Office on Aging 970-498-7750 for information on senior affordable housing.

Pictured (l-r): Diane Chohn, Sue Beck-Ferkiss, & Kath Mason

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