Leigh Howard from Diana T. Myers and Associates was a special guest speaker at CARIE’s May 2009 Legislative Committee meeting to discuss how housing issues impact older Pennsylvanians.  Leigh highlighted the following information.

This spring, the Housing Advisory Committee to the Pennsylvania Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) issued a September 2008 report, A Five Year Plan for Integrating Affordable Housing and Long Term Supports in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  According to the executive summary, “The Long- term Living Housing Advisory Committee was created in 2007 to develop a strategic plan for increasing affordable accessible housing options and opportunities for individuals needing long term living services. The Committee was composed of 27 representatives of public and private agencies from throughout the Commonwealth. The 5 year plan is presented as the foundation for an on-going process of data collection, analysis and strategy formulation. In crafting this report the Committee assumed that the type and level of necessary services to support individuals living in the community are available. Its focus was on increasing housing and housing opportunities and making sure that the coordinating mechanisms are available to link the housing to services.”

The Pennsylvania Intra-Governmental Council on Long Term Care created a Housing Alternatives Work Group (HAWG) to identify and research non-traditional
housing options for elderly and adults with disabilities to expand affordable and
accessible housing alternatives in Pennsylvania.  In December 2007, HAWG issued a report, Housing Alternatives Work Group: A Report on Non-Traditional Housing Options, that was posted on the Department of Aging’s website in April 2009.

The concept of visitability is being advocated for as a way to ensure accessible housing.  The brochure, Promoting Visitability in Philadelphia, describes the concept, provides links to national resources, and includes efforts that are occurring in Philadelphia.