Organization Name: Enterprise Community Partners
Project Title: The Healthy Aging in Affordable Housing Demonstration
Project Location: East Harlem
The Healthy Aging in Affordable Housing Demonstration is a program that makes home modifications, assists with relocations, and provides service connections so that older adults can safely age-in-place. Our work with housing providers throughout the city has shown us that a significant number of affordable housing residents are aging in housing that was not intended for older adults. Many of these older residents live in two- to five-story walk-up buildings that are disconnected from health and social services. Without age-appropriate physical design and service support, low-income older adults face the threat of health complications and injuries. With the New York City’s older adult population slated to grow by 40% between 2010 and 2040, now is the time to assess the challenges these seniors face as they age in affordable housing, and develop methods to address these challenges through public programs and regulatory changes
Enterprise works with local service organizations and community development corporations in Northern Manhattan to connect older adults in non-age restricted affordable housing to health and social services; enhance their living environments for comfortability and to prevent falls; reintegrate homebound residents into their community; and improve overall quality of life for residents aging in affordable housing. Enterprise conducts one-on-one needs assessments to determine the necessary service connections and modifications and follows up on a quarterly basis to ensure resident connection. Seniors are connected to social and health services in their neighborhoods and those with mobility impairments are relocated to accessible apartments whenever possible and are connected to occupational therapy for a home safety assessment. Occupational therapists recommend modifications based on senior resident needs to building owners, who then complete the age-friendly home modifications.
According to a survey, 79% of seniors in affordable housing rated their health as fair or poor. Additionally, 59% said that they had fallen in the past year and nearly 30% had gone to the emergency room due to a fall. Age-friendly modifications reduce the likelihood that seniors will experience injuries in their homes that would result in emergency room visits, and fewer emergency room visits can produce significant cost savings. Through this program, Enterprise has facilitated over 65 targeted service referrals, including home care, vision loss services, and health insurance counseling, with an 88% connection rate. We have helped 29% of participants obtain new benefits and entitlements, and provided home modifications and relocations for eligible seniors. Additionally, preliminary data indicates that participants have increased their utilization of services outside of our direct referrals.
Enterprise’s mission is to provide opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. We raise and leverage financial resources, shape policy, and provide programs to help communities create and preserve safe, healthy, and affordable homes. We also work to ensure that housing connects people to other resources critical to success, like transportation, quality schools, and health care services.