AARP AARP States Massachusetts Advocacy

AARP MA's Testimony on An Act To Promote Housing Choices













MAY 14, 2019


Good morning.  I am Sandra Harris, state president of AARP Massachusetts.  AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.  As the lead volunteer for AARP Massachusetts and on behalf of the nearly 38 million members nationwide and 800,000 members here in the Commonwealth, thank you for the opportunity to speak today.


I am here today to support House Bill No. 3507, An Act to Promote Housing Choices.


Advocacy for affordable, accessible, and a variety of housing options for people age 50 and older is a tenet of AARP’s core mission.  These principles are important to our members.  These are also the principles of the Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities.


AARP’s Age Friendly Network asks for commitment from state elected leadership to work actively toward making the state a great place to live for people of all ages.  In 2018, AARP officially welcomed Massachusetts into the AARP network of Age-Friendly States and the World Health Organization Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities. At that time, Massachusetts became the second state in the nation to join the network with 35 communities already members.  Now, we have 53 communities as members of the Network.


As AARP guides these communities through the age-friendly process, we are validating research that shows the vast majority of people age 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. This is not unique to the Commonwealth and is consistent with national data.


AARP works to promote housing that enables people to live safely, comfortably and independently.  AARP encourages communities to provide housing options and develop homes that are accessible to residents and guests of all ages and abilities. Smart, age friendly homes are great places for people of all ages.


To successfully respond to the demands of housing shortages, an increasingly aging population, and to become truly age-friendly, the Commonwealth must have the flexibility, opportunity and incentives to provide new and innovative housing choices.   It is time to remove the barriers that stifle new housing models, like accessory dwelling units.


Note – just last week AARP released a new report, The ABCs of ADUs, demonstrating how they expand housing options for people of all ages.  It is attached to this testimony.


The Housing Choice bill allows for the development of new housing models, promotes accessory dwellings, and encourages construction in areas and neighborhoods that have accessible resources.


We urge swift passage of House Bill No. 3507 and look forward to the benefits that the Housing Choice bill will provide communities and residents.  We stand ready to work with you on these important issues.  Thank you.

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