Affordable housing important but lacking: survey

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Affordable housing important but lacking: survey
Affordable housing important but lacking: survey

The availability of affordable housing for older adults and others with chronic health conditions can reduce the need for emergency department visits, nursing home stays and other supportive services, saving tax dollars, believe 62% of participants in a new national poll of housing attitudes by the MacArthur Foundation.

Results of the 2016 How Housing Matters Survey, the fourth annual one commissioned by the foundation, are based on telephone interviews conducted in April and May with a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults, including 420 who only have a cell phone.

Sixty percent of survey respondents aged 50 to 64 years said that housing affordability is a very or fairly serious problem in the United States, and 58% of those aged 65 or more years answered similarly.

Despite the perceived importance of affordable housing, many Americans maintain that those in the middle class are more likely to fall into a lower economic class than are lower-income people likely to join the middle class. This belief was reported by 80% of research participants aged 50 to 64 years (the same percentage as those aged 35 to 49) and 76% of those aged 65 or more years (the same percentage as those aged 18 to 34).

Fewer older adults surveyed in 2016 said they hold that the housing crisis is over compared with respondents to the 2015 survey of the same age. Now, 28% of those aged 50 to 64 reported believing the housing crisis is over, compared with 31% in the 2015 survey. And 26% of those aged 65 or more years said they believe the housing crisis is over, compared with 38% in 2015.

Fifty-three percent of all survey respondents said they have made sacrifices to afford their housing; of that group, 19% said they have stopped saving for retirement to cover their rent or mortgage.

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