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Rodney Harrell, PhD Strategic Policy Senior Advisor AARP Public Policy Institute November 19, 2009 Creating Livable Communities: Preserving Affordability.

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Presentation on theme: "Rodney Harrell, PhD Strategic Policy Senior Advisor AARP Public Policy Institute November 19, 2009 Creating Livable Communities: Preserving Affordability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rodney Harrell, PhD Strategic Policy Senior Advisor AARP Public Policy Institute November 19, 2009 Creating Livable Communities: Preserving Affordability and Access in Areas Near Transit for All Ages and Incomes

2 AARP AARP is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization Subsidiaries: –AARP Services Inc. – Products and services –AARP Foundation – Community service programs and legal advocacy, 501(c)(3) National office, 53 state offices (50 States, DC, PR, & VI) Volunteer Board of Directors Founded in million members

3 “What I’d really like to do is remain in my home for as long as possible.” Source: AARP State of 50+ America Survey, October 2005 Age category: 50+ Base=910 Aging in Place

4 “What I’d really like to do is remain in my local community for as long as possible.” Source: AARP State of 50+ America Survey, October 2005 Age category: 50+ Base=910 Aging in Place

5 AARP and TOD AARP’s Livable Communities Agenda works for the creation of safe communities that have affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services and adequate mobility options. Well-developed TOD also works to achieve these goals

6 Boomers lead to growth in the 65+ population Source: U.S Census Bureau - Census projections as of 8/2008 Year 65+ Population Total Population 65+ Share of Total Population ,991,753281,421,90612% ,887,958301,621,15713% ,092,000373,504,00019% ,547,000439,010,00020%

7 AARP Policy Book Livable Communities chapter (Chapter 9) created to integrate housing, transportation and land use. Policy includes the encouragement of mixed used development within walking distance of transit, increasing density near transit stops and including affordable housing in areas near transit.

8 “Preserving Affordability and Access in Livable Communities Subsidized Housing Opportunities near Transit and the 50 + Population” AARP PPI, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Trust developed a study that looked at the potential costs and benefits of different locations for older residents of subsidized housing. Released Sept. 30, available at under “Livable Communities.”

9 Overview Subsidized housing near transit meets a crucial need for older adults. (Project-based Section 8 and Section 202) However, existing affordable housing near transit is increasingly at risk in the face of upward pressure on housing prices and expiring government subsidies. Preserving affordable housing near transit is of critical importance for creating livable communities for older Americans.

10 Affordable housing near transit is at risk… Expiring government affordability requirements gives owners the option to exit the program and convert the property to a non affordable use. A determination that they can charge higher rents than the subsidy they receive from HUD is the most significant indication of whether an owner will opt of these housing programs. As demand for housing near transit increases, the rising cost of land threatens the continued availability of affordable homes near transit

11 Metropolitan Areas Analyzed AtlantaNew York City BaltimorePhiladelphia BostonPhoenix ChicagoPortland (Oregon) ClevelandSt. Louis DenverSalt Lake City HoustonSan Francisco Los AngelesSeattle MiamiWashington DC Minneapolis/St. Paul

12 Interviews Site visits and interviews with 50+ residents of affordable housing developments 30 interviews in 5 metropolitan areas: Boston, Cleveland, LA, Miami, Twin Cities Locations within ¼ mile of quality transit (near) and more than ½ mile of quality transit (far)

13 Cleveland, OH Long waiting lists for housing Safety and perception of safety were issues Lack of access to train station limits the use by residents Good bus service on main avenues, problems getting elsewhere

14 Twin Cities, MN The downtown location in Minneapolis has access to light rail, buses, shopping Buses in Edina not “frequent” but are useful Car access not as important as in other areas due to effective, useful transit

15 Notes from interviews: Long waiting lists for housing “Some places are easier to get to than others” Personal loneliness and isolation in some locations Isolation of housing has widespread costs

16 Subsidized housing near transit

17 Housing Types

18 Summary of Research Findings A. Access to transit in compact development areas provides mobility and choice, but limitations can exist: –Nearby transit isn’t useful unless you can get to it; –Transit must accommodate people with varying physical limitations; and –Transit must take people where they need to go. B. In areas far from transit, losing mobility means losing independence Subsidized housing meets a crucial need for residents with few housing options, and the benefits of locations near transit are widely enjoyed only when transit is accessible, safe, and useful.

19 Who Benefits the Most from Housing Near Transit? Minimal Benefit Full Benefit Low Amount of LimitationsHigh Amount of Limitations Individual: Individual: Open to the idea of transit, without cognitive or physical impairments, and able to read and understand signage Community (External): Community (External): Living in well-planned, safe, healthy communities and in walkable neighborhoods with resources nearby. Frequent, accessible, reliable transit service that connects to most other places that one would want to travel to. Individual: Individual: Significant physical limitations that prevent boarding or waiting for transit. Those who do not understand the transit system. Community (External): Community (External): Living in poorly planned or economically struggling communities with little shopping or services nearby. Poor transit service, including bus drivers who won’t stop, poor route planning, unreliable service, inaccessible stops/stations, high crime levels.

20 Policy Implications We argue for policies that will lead to:  The preservation of existing affordable housing, particularly in advantageous locations.  Greater integration of transportation and land use in policy, planning and implementation efforts  Improvements and greater investment in transit

21 More Information: AARP Public Policy Institute: AARP PPI Livable Communities Documents: PPI Document Requests: Dr. Rodney Harrell:


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