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ArlingtonOpinionCommentary: Congress must support housing options for seniors

Commentary: Congress must support housing options for seniors

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by DANA PARSONS and COURTNEY NUZZO, for the Sun Gazette

Between 2009 and 2019, the number of very-low-income older-adult households spending more than half of their incomes on rent increased by an astonishing 82 percent.

Waiting lists for affordable senior housing are often several years long, putting older adults in the commonwealth at risk for homelessness. These realities, coupled with the continuing shortage of affordable housing, prevents older Virginians the ability to age with dignity, choice and independence.

We’re also not getting any younger here in Virginia. According to a report commissioned by LeadingAge, a national organization that advocates for nonprofit aging-services providers, Virginia’s senior population is projected to increase by nearly 51 percent in the next 20 years – from 1.3 million in 2017 to 1.9 million in 2040.


Nonprofit communities for seniors receive applications every month from people desperately looking for safe, affordable housing. We strive to provide an environment that both improves the lives of those aging and contributes to their continued independence.

Now is the time to urge your congressional representatives to fund and expand access to affordable housing. Let congress know they can help by providing robust U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding, expanding the supply of affordable housing, connecting HUD-assisted residents to support, and investing in new housing.

We urge our state and federal leaders to expand affordable housing, because a safe place to live is a key part of how older adults access the care and services they need.

Dana Parsons is the vice president and legislative counsel of LeadingAge Virginia, an association of not-for-profit aging services organizations serving residents and clients across the senior care continuum.

Courtney Nuzzo is the executive director of The Lewinsville Retirement Residence in McLean.

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