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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Detroit, Michigan Pastoral Associate for Christian Service, St. Wayne State University, moc. The link between housing and health comes to the forefront in times of housing instability and subsequent transition. Developers had purchased the building in order to convert it from subsidized low-income housing to market-rate luxury apartments. This resulted in the displacement of the senior residents, many of whom had lived in the Downtown neighborhood for decades.
As Detroit progresses in its revitalization, it is to be expected that more private interest will be taking over real estate in the city. With the increased residential market demand in the Downtown and Midtown areas, more apartment buildings are expected to convert from low income to market-rate.
Due to these transitions, it is critical to examine relocation for older adults in an urban context, along with its relationship to health and well-being.
Lessons learned from the experiences of Detroiters can inform municipal and national discourses related to gentrification, and more specifically the future of low-income housing for older adults. The redevelopment of a single building raises many city-wide questions for policy-makers and practitioners: What happens to the seniors who are displaced by development? How many other older adults will experience such relocation due to market rate conversion? What health and social supports do service providers need to offer for their transition?
Who are the potential funders for providing these services? What will the role of seniors and senior housing be in a reimagined Detroit? Senior Housing Preservation-Detroit SHP-D is a coalition that brings together practitioners and concerned parties from the local university as well as key organizations within the city to discuss a the preservation of low-income senior housing in the city of Detroit and b addressing the needs of seniors who lost their housing to market forces.
In addition to description of the coalition and the documentation of coalition efforts to date, this paper also offers an assessment tool created by SHP-D specifically addressing relocation concerns of older adults. It will also serve to situate this partnership in national discourses on senior housing and describe next steps for this important and timely work. For many, homes hold memories of events and people, providing stability and security Novak, Identifying the criteria important for a new residence, selection of a residence and the meeting of new neighbors are also part of moving.
Relocation in older adulthood can also be fraught with future concerns of autonomy, frailty, and mortality. While predictive factors of relocation, including health and death of a spouse, have been established Wiseman, ; Litwak and Longino, ; Author, blimited attention has been paid to understanding the process of moving in older adulthood, and in particular to analyzing the diverse experiences of older adults who move.
Considering neighborhood distress and decline in Detroit Zenk et al. The U. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD created several programs for subsidized housing 1including the Section 8 rental assistance program. This program offered 15 to 40 year project-based Housing Assistance Payment HAP contracts for whole residential buildings.
This program is responsible for the constructionof most of the privately owned, subsidized housing for low income seniors in the United States. When the original Section 8 HAP contracts for these units expire, the owners are allowed to renew for terms of 1 to 5 years or to opt out of renewal altogether. All of the 20 year, Section 8 project-based rent subsidy contracts have expired and most of the 30 year contracts primarily for buildings financed with tax exempt bonds issued by state housing finance agencies have started to expire.
Those senior buildings with 40 year contracts began expiring in It is projected that within 10 years all of the original project-based Section 8 HAP contracts will have expired. An estimatedunits of project-based low income housing for seniors may have already been lost as contracts have expired and owners opted and converted to market rate housing. This means that more units of low income senior housingmay be lost by than theunits still available under the Section program t Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Not all low-income housing is privately owned.
Nonprofit owners of low income housing are much less likely to opt out and convert to market rate housing than for-profit owners. Since the commitment and capabilities of the nonprofit sponsors can change, it is not assured that these projects will continue to serve low income seniors after they are eligible to opt out of the program. When a project-based Section 8 HAP contract is not renewed, the ongoing project-based rent rental assistance it provides is lost for both current and future low income seniors.
In this way the loss of the benefit from the project-based rental assistance subsidy is compounded. Considering the aging of the population, this loss of subsidized rental housing for low income seniors is coming at the very time when it is most needed. As Detroit pursues revitalization following the trauma of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.
Despite the image of Detroit as being underpopulated with large amount of vacant land, abandoned homes and buildings and, therefore, a place where displacement of existing residents would not be an occurring, in the Downtown and Midtown areas where business, cultural institutions, higher education and medicine, are concentrated, there is rapid growth and revitalization with an influx of people with higher incomes that has resulted in a shortage of housing and rapidly increasing rents.
As is the case with most urban areas, it also has a high concentration of subsidized low income senior housing. Rather than being unique to Detroit, these issue of opting out of HUD contracts, resulting in seniors being displaced has great relevance to many cities across the country. Relocations may involve trauma depending on the circumstances.
Some of the relocation literature discusses various types of voluntary moves. However, sometimes reasons for location go beyond and individual, partner or kin network level decisions. In some cases, changes in the external environnent lead older adults to move, with a host of potential traumatic challenges, particularly when moves are perceived as involuntary. Other documented involuntary relocations include reactions to natural disasters e. Additionally, they found that loss of social supports of family, community resources, friends, medical providers and churches affected study participants.
There is little research which relates to understanding the interseciton between involuntary relocation related to gentrification and concerns of trauma in older adulthood. The authors of this paper are active members of the recently formed Senior Housing Preservation — Detroit coalition SHP-Da group of foundations, service organizations, faith leaders, public health officials and advocates interested in the housing options of older adults.
The coalition, spearheaded by the Hannan Foundation, is concerned about the availability of senior housing in Midtown and Downtown Detroit, as well as supporting those who must move elsewhere due to the conversion of their HUD subsidized units to market rate housing.
This community organizing effort has defined its geographic focus on Midtown and Downtown Detroit, rather than take a citywide focus, because of the density of subsidized senior housing in these neighborhoods. Founded in latethe group originally formed to discuss the service needs of older adults who were being relocated from a single building.
While the group met to monitor the status of these particular older adults, service providers would offer resources such as information on other possible locations for seniors to move within the city, as well as information on the developments of the moving process, such as how many residents had been moved each month and how many remained in the building. Through this foundational work work, it became evident that larger issues were at play. One of the primary issues the coalition recognized was the potential need for older adults who had recently relocated to move again if and when other buildings in the city were also converted to market-rate as the HUD contracts in subsequent buildings expired.
The coalition projects that units of senior housing will expire in Detroit in the next decade. The coalition recognized that lessons learned from the experiences of older adults who relocated in the initial building could be essential in two ways: 1 It could provide answers about what more could be done to preserve housing and 2 may generate plans to better support older adults if relocation does occur. The coalition also realized that this issue was not new to the city.
In fact, city planners had created plans to address vulnerable seniors and their housing needs in administrations City of Detroit, Some possible approaches to address these concerns were an early warning system to identify physical and financially declining buildings, and resource allocation to preserve senior buildings.
While these plans were set aside for reasons unknown to the coaltion, with a new mayor and new investment in the city, the possibilities for addressing these ly acknowledged concerns reemerge. What are ways the older adult participates in their community? Do they provide caregiving for a family member or friend or grandchild? Are they involved in intergenerational programs?
Do they volunteer in their community? What is the health status of the older adult including mobility? How might their health change because of relocation?
Are there recent physical changes? Will they need relocation assistance due to their health needs? What are the cognitive needs of the older adult? How will relocation affect their cognitive functioning? Is the older adult comprehending the information provided about moving, housing options, etc?
Will they need relocation assistance due to their mental health needs? What are the emotional needs of the older adult? Is there fear of change or fear of the unknown? Is there anxiety about the details of moving? How attached is the older adult to their current place of residence? What are comparable rentals? Where are housing vouchers accepted? What are the logistical needs of the older adult? What is their literacy level?
Is assistance needed to identify housing options? Do older adults need to be driven to potential residences? Partners, family members, friends, place of worshipothers? How will they support the older adult emotionally, financially, logistically? Are relationships sufficient to support the older adult through the transition, or will additional support be needed?
How socially isolated is the older adult? Will the move increase or decrease social isolation?
What are the spiritual needs of the older adult? Will there be a place of worship close to the new location? If active in current place of worship, are there barriers to continued participation, such as transportation? What resources does the older adult have access to in their current location shopping, banking, entertainment, parks, medical professionals, senior centers, transportation resources?
This information is difficult to verify as different entities have differing information on this topic. However, this list is key to knowing if there are other ways that buildings could be preserved. Other preservation options being considered by this committee include: 1 Sale of the building to a new owner likely a nonprofit who agrees to retain it as housing for low income seniors and to renew the Section 8 HAP contracts. To help with such a sale, HUD can agree to increase the rents under the HAP contract and the resulting rent subsidy if the building is purchased by a nonprofit organization, including limited partnerships with the nonprofit as the general partner.
The need for this committee was apparent, as many persons in the community would look for a group representing the issues of older adults. The coalition has developed Talking Points and is creating a list of relevant decision-makers to target. The coalition also recognizes that support is necessary for those relocating for those whose housing cannot be preserved. The Relocation Committee is tasked with exploring how to provide appropriate services to those who need assistance in relocation.
The Assessment Committee, a subcommittee of the Relocation Committee, realized that an assessment tool should be used in initial meetings with older adults. The committee, comprised of practitioners who had direct contact with the residents of the first building and the director of social work at the Hannan Foundation, created the Relocation Assessment Tool see figure 2 and a Workflow Plan see figure 3.
The Research Committee is chaired by the first author.
This committee sought and obtained funding from the John A. Hartford ChangeAGEnt Initiative to study the experiences of older adults who involuntarily relocated. Within a year, the project hopes to track older adults who were displaced from a building in Downtown Detroit, collecting data in winter Two key members, St.
The proposed project is deed to collect and utilize evidence to further develop person-centered care and gerontological best practices for working with older adults that need to relocate. Thus far, the research team has deed interview questions collaboratively. Several coalition member organizations have made additional in-kind donations e. Because SHP-D believes that advocacy will be an important mechanism for achieving these goals the coalition members are undertaking the current project with the following objectives:.
Recently, the coalition added a fifth committee tasked with outreach to older adults. The coalition realized that older adult voices, in addition to service providers and researchers, should be more included. The committee is tasked with creating ongoing opportunities for older adults to provide input. A community forum is planned in April to address this need. In this study, funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research P30 AGthe author began to recruit older Detroit's who had relocated to understand their post-move experiences.Senior ladies Mean Crossroads
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