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Safe and affordable housing options for seniors

New legislation makes it easier to provide more affordable choices for seniors, including accessory dwelling units and mid-size housing. Sponsored by AARP.

SEATTLE — AARP surveys consistently find that older adults want to remain in their current homes and communities for as long as possible.

“We know that about 80% of older adults actually want to remain in their homes as they age,” said Marguerite Ro, AARP state director. “Obviously being on fixed incomes it’s important to have affordable options.”

Developments this past legislative session could help provide more housing options and choices for older adults in Washington. Accessory dwelling unit (ADU) legislation reduces barriers to build ADUs. These can provide a place for an aging loved one to live instead of a nursing home and can also be used as living quarters for a caregiver.

Another piece of legislation focuses on mid-sized housing, like duplexes, fourplexes and cottage courts. The legislation now allows for mid-sized housing in cities with a population of 25,000 or more.

“It cuts through a lot of the barriers that have been put in place because of zoning policies,” said Cliff Crawford of Habitat for Humanity.

AARP also knows safety precautions are vital in homes for older adults. Its program called HomeFit provides more than 100 tips and suggestions to make a home more livable for the long run.

“There are low-cost, no-cost options, like making sure lightbulbs are at a higher wattage so that older adults can read more easily,” Ro said. “It also might include things like making sure area rugs are secure.”

If seniors are in need of home repairs, Habitat for Humanity may be able to help.

“When it comes to Habitat for Humanity, we have a great home repair program,” Crawford said.

Habitat for Humanity offers programs for both minor repairs, like handrails, guardrails and step repair and critical home repairs, like roofing and weatherization. Program eligibility is based on need, and minor home repairs only require a $50 fee.

To learn more about AARP’s HomeFit and to find more tools, tips and resources, visit the AARP website.

Sponsored by AARP.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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