Colorado Confronts Senior Housing Crisis

Reflecting trends likely to effect many cities in the coming years and decades, Magdalena Wegrzyn reports on the growing need for affordable housing for seniors in the City of Longmont, 30 miles outside of Denver.
May 3, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With the deep recession effecting the retirement accounts of most Americans, and hitting those Baby Boomers approaching retirement especially hard, some will likely find themselves in a similar position to the residents Wegrzyn interviews at The Lodge at Hover Crossing, a 50-unit building for low-income seniors in Longmont.

"Right now, The Lodge has 54 tenants, including four couples. The average age of tenants is 62, and most are former professionals, said Lodge manager Jennivee Lawrence. 'These are people who had savings and lost them in the economy,' Lawrence said. 'They're not here because they planned to be here. They're here because of the economy.'"

"The Lodge has a waiting list of 220 seniors, some dating back to 2009, waiting for an affordable housing unit to open up. 'Almost every day, I get a new application,' Lawrence said. And that number is only going to increase as baby boomers retire, many with far fewer dollars in savings than they'd like."

With the types of grants from the federal Housing and Urban Development Section 202 program that funded the construction of The Lodge being cut drastically, the prognosis for cities across the country hoping to provide decent affordable housing for their seniors grows ever more dim.

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Published on Saturday, April 28, 2012 in The Denver Post
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