Affordable housing is important to the economic vitality of communities. Certainly, it fulfills a basic human need for shelter, but it also contributes to the well being of both families and individuals. Decent, affordable housing reduces stress, toxins, and infectious disease, which leads to improvement in both physical and mental health.
For seniors, transitioning to retirement income while supporting a traditional mortgage or standard rental agreement often exceeds their revenue. Tragically, seniors are the fastest growing population affected by homelessness as well as the highest growth rate for bankruptcy.
21% of married Social Security recipients and 43% of single recipients aged 65+ depend on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. As a result, those living without an additional income may be forced to go without, or make difficult choices among basic needs such as nutritious foods, prescription medications or adequate heating or cooling.
It is estimated that there are over 1,300 homeless veterans in Oregon on any given night, and many more who are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and dismal living conditions.
Although these numbers have trended downward over the past decade, this still represents more than 10 percent of all homeless Oregonians. This means that those who have served in the military, men and women, are significantly more likely to be homeless than the general public.
The Elder Index is a measure of the income that older adults who are living in the community, without public or private assistance and not in institutions, need to meet their basic needs and age in place with dignity. In Oregon, older adults receive, on average, $1,403 in Social Security benefits each month.
The Elder Index reports the monthly cost of living for seniors as:
Marion County: Single, renters $1,756, home owners $1,757. Couples, renters $2,534, home owners $2,633.
Polk County: Single, renters $1,615, home owners $1,749. Couples, renters $2,492, home owners $2,626.