AARP AARP States Ohio Livable Communities

Affordable Housing in Ohio Key to Aging in Place

AARP South Carolina supports expanding Medicaid to provide access to an additional 329,000 residents.

While record-high property values are a boon for many Franklin County homeowners, the accompanying rise in property taxes has left some older residents feeling pushed out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in for decades. 

With a lack of affordable housing options and a limited homestead tax exemption, older adults “feel like they’re being punished,” said Michael Stinziano, Franklin County auditor. 

Working together with AARP Ohio, his office is conducting a study to seek ways to ease the burden.  

“At the root of it, if you don’t have stable and quality housing, it’s really hard to have everything else, from health security to financial security and social involvement,” said Holly Holtzen, state director for AARP Ohio, which is promoting housing-focused initiatives across the state.

Limited supply, More costs

According to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), more than 35 percent of mortgage holders ages 65 to 74 spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing-related costs. The same can be said for almost half of those 75 and older.

The growing share of Ohioans age 65 and older living alone and responsible for maintaining a home exacerbates the problem. While Ohio’s aging population continues to grow, housing options remain limited, according to the agency.

AARP’s national Livable Communities initiative and its related Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities count affordable and accessible housing as a key focus. 

AARP began providing consultants to age-friendly communities in 2019. Westerville, one of 14 network members in Ohio, was one of the first recipients. 

The city is now looking for ways to apply what it learned through focus groups as it drafts a new zoning code with an emphasis on affordable housing. 

With AARP’s assistance, Westerville also held a workshop on the issue and on Missing Middle Housing options—a range of multiple-unit buildings compatible with single-family homes in walkable neighborhoods.

This year, AARP Ohio plans to help Oxford and Yellow Springs review potential housing improvements. 

In Yellow Springs, age-friendly consultants will advise on how to add diverse, affordable housing options, including accessory dwelling units (such as tiny houses and mother-in-law suites) and Missing Middle Housing.

Along with its Prepare to Care and Fraud Watch Network offerings, AARP Ohio has added HomeFit to its lineup of volunteer presentations. 

It offers dozens of practical fixes to help homeowners age in place and maintain their independence. “There are certain simple things you can do, from adding a grab bar or railing to making sure you don’t have cords around the room and rugs to trip over,” said Ken Davis, AARP Ohio’s outreach manager.

AARP surveys show that more than 90 percent of Ohioans want to live independently in their homes as they age whenever possible, he said.

To schedule a HomeFit presentation for your organization, email  

To learn more about AARP’s Livable Communities, go to livable.

Sarah Hollander is a writer living in Cleveland.

More on Housing

ADUs Help Families Address a Variety of Housing Needs

About AARP Ohio
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.