The number of individuals that cannot afford a comfortable and safe place to call home has reached a record high. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that there is currently a shortage of more than seven million affordable homes for the nation’s more than 10.8 million extremely low-income households, of which nearly 46 percent are seniors or have a disability. The burden of this shortage is far-reaching and has a lasting economic and social impact on individuals and communities. Developing affordable housing benefits the economy and helps communities thrive. Research shows that affordable housing encourages social connection, reduces overcrowding, attracts businesses with job opportunities, and lowers crime rates.
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) projects that the population of individuals 65 and older will double by 2050, and that by 2035, in 31.2 million households, at least one member will have a disability affecting mobility, self-care, or the ability to complete basic household activities. The existing housing stock cannot meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, with fewer than four percent of residential units being suitable for people with moderate mobility disabilities and only about one percent of units being wheelchair accessible.
Rehabilitation Units: 33 Units
Private Equity Investment: $2,449,965
Local Jobs Supported: 12
Local Government Revenue: $59,538
To help alleviate the burden felt by seniors lacking affordable and accessible housing, especially those living in rural communities that often have fewer affordable options to meet the needs of the aging population, CAHEC partnered with Hallmark Development Services, LLC on the preservation and renovation of Pleasant Valley Apartments in Lynchburg, TN. Initially built in 1993, the property features 32 one- and two-bedroom units for individuals 62 and older with incomes below 50 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Along with adding all new energy-efficient appliances and features, the renovations at Pleasant Valley centered around making the community more accessible to residents through upgrades such as the construction of wheelchair-accessible curb ramps.
Betty Whitney, site manager at Pleasant Valley Apartments, highlighted the improved accessibility by stating: "We offer all lower level units for elderly and disabled tenants. We also offer the community center on the property as a convenience for residents." Amenities housed in the community center include a computer area, a laundry facility, and community rooms. Whitney added that her favorite part about working on-site with residents is “being able to help people find affordable housing and seeing the sense of relief it provides them.” The improved accessibility, energy-efficient appliances, and revived landscaping ensure that Pleasant Valley Apartments will stand as a place for seniors to call home for years to come.