What We Heard
Age Friendly communities provide a range of housing options for all residents – suited to different life stages, incomes and abilities.
Older adults generally want to stay in their own homes and communities for as long as possible, close to family and friends. But living on a fixed income, or changing health or physical abilities, might make continuing to live independently in one’s own home challenging. Doing so may be possible if living quarters are designed, built or modified to include age and dementia-friendly enhancements or standards and if a variety of housing options and alternatives are available in the community. The ability to modify one’s home through affordable and accessible home modification programs, or to move to a residence with less upkeep, would help ensure that more seniors are able to live independently.
The cost of housing, including upkeep, real estate taxes and utilities influences where older people live. High housing costs and a lack of alternatives may discourage older people from moving to more appropriate, age-friendly housing. Exploration into alternate housing strategies, like home sharing, congregate housing, intentional communities, Villages, NORC’s – naturally occurring retirement communities — and others, should be fully explored and adapted for Berkshire County.
Goals at a Glance
- Develop capacity to address Age-Friendly housing needs throughout the County, including a network of those working on housing issues, in both the public and private sectors.
- Inventory and map existing housing resources and collect municipal and state regulations related to housing, to identify resources and gaps.
- Make information and assistance available to consumers about how older adults can age-in-place, including home assessments, workshops and guidance on website.
- Assist municipalities in addressing local housing issues.
- Help expand the range of housing options that are available and affordable for seniors at varying income levels, including multi-generational neighborhoods, shared living arrangements, and other alternatives, as desired.
- Encourage solutions to ease the transition to alternative housing arrangements, including the use of a centralized application for affordable housing.
- Expand senior tax deferral and work-off programs, and/or consider creating a tax relief fund to help the neediest low-income or disabled seniors to reduce burden of real estate taxes on a primary residence.