Community forum to discuss affordable housing needs for older adults

A second community forum about the need for affordable housing for older adults in the Tucson area is set for Tuesday.

ELDER Alliance — a network of organizations supporting quality of life for seniors — is sponsoring the public event to hear people’s experiences about the city’s affordable housing services, said organizers.

The forum will be held April 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at El Pueblo Senior Center at the Richard Ortiz Barker Regional Complex, 101 W. Irvington Road.

Housing experts, government leaders and caregivers will be among those hearing the personal stories of low-income older adults who need affordable housing, said Jim Murphy, retired chief executive officer of the Pima Council on Aging and member of the Tucson Housing Foundation Board of Trustees.

Testimonials of participants will be included in a comprehensive report that will support advocacy efforts aimed at expanding housing options for elders in need, said Murphy in a news release.

Several more forums are planned and the sessions will include discussions of housing models for a possible pilot project.

The city, which also administers federal funds for public housing, manages $55 million to $60 million a year in total public housing, said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild last fall. He said more than 10,000 people are served by the programs.

In an earlier interview, Murphy said city-owned public-housing apartment complexes and units built and subsidized by federal programs have waiting lists for men and women 62 years of age and older.

Older adults with limited income who are living on Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income, for those with disabilities) payments do not have enough money to cover their housing, Murphy said.

In the city, there are 15,858 families on the Section 8 waiting list, and 1,965 are 62 or older, according to data from the city’s Housing and Community Development department.

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