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AARP Indiana helps set foundation for affordable, age-friendly housing in Evansville

AARP Indiana’s Evansville team recently made the case at a City of Evansville Affordable Housing Trust Fund committee meeting for the growing need to construct, rehabilitate, and preserve affordable housing in the area that also supports residents’ abilities to age in place.

Not unlike the rest of the United States, the Evansville community is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis for both renters and homeowners.

“The vast majority of older Hoosiers want to age in their existing homes, which are integrated in the community,” Addison Pollock, AARP director of community engagement, said. “Not only do Evansville residents need affordable places to live, but those affordable places also need to support residents’ abilities to stay in their home as long as they want to.”

Team Evansville volunteers and staff
AARP Indiana volunteers and staff advocate for affordable housing. Pictured, from left to right: Diana VanHooks, Addison Pollock, Leota Brigham, and Joe Kendall.

AARP Indiana volunteers and staff advocate for affordable housing. Pictured, from left to right: Diana VanHooks, Addison Pollock, Leota Brigham, and Joe Kendall.

A 2021 AARP Vital Voices Survey found that 86 percent of Hoosiers 50-plus prefer staying in their own home as they get older and that 84 percent prefer getting to places they need to go (visiting family, the doctor, the grocery store, etc.) independently.

Team Evansville’s co-leaders, Diana VanHooks and Leota Brigham, along with Pollock, presented AARP Indiana’s housing priorities at the March 7th Affordable Housing Trust Fund meeting.

WATCH:  Full recording of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund committee meeting

Those priorities include smart land-use options, such as new housing that is walkable and near essential services, as well as alternative housing options, including but not limited to, multifamily housing and accessory dwelling units.

Along with housing that is better connected to the community, homes that are both affordable and incorporate accessibility features are a high priority, as well as programs that support accessibility modifications.

“As AARP [Indiana] came and testified today, we can help our seniors, which we all know we have an aging population in our community,” Evansville Common Council President Zac Heronemus said at the committee meeting. “[Help them] Age in home and age in home comfortably.”

Heronemus plans to introduce an ordinance at the Evansville Common Council on April 10th to convert the Affordable Housing Trust Fund into a 501(C)3 non-profit corporation, which would allow the group to raise private funds and hire dedicated staff to meet the affordable housing needs of the community. AARP Indiana staff and volunteers are expected to provide testimony before the final City Council vote on April 24th.

This legislation could mean additional dollars for the fund, gradually increasing the city’s annual budgetary commitment to the trust to at least $2 million over the course of 10 years.

“Evansville is making great strides in housing affordability and accessibility,” Pollock said. “Our team will be there advocating for these positive policy changes every step of the way.”

More information from AARP Indiana:
Affordable Housing Trust Fund Presentation

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