Aging happens to be a very democratic process, disregarding ethnicity and income. If we are lucky, it will happen to each one of us.
As individuals age, each person will have a preference for how and where they wish to live. Some may choose congregate housing accommodations with amenities; some may choose living with friends or relatives; and some may down-size into more modest quarters. Most people say they wish to age in place in their own home. All want to maintain their independence.
As we look back on the last year, our focus has been on facilitating aging in place. Two assumptions are implied in the “aging in place” expression—an individual has an affordable and reasonable place to live, and has the ability to move from home into the community to access services and maintain community connections. The link between affordable housing and accessible transportation, two of the most talked about topics in Boulder County (and elsewhere), is immutable.
The current dialogue must consider the relationship between affordable housing and accessible transportation. Research shows that typical households in auto-dependent neighborhoods spend about 25 percent of their income on transportation costs, but this number drops to nine percent in neighborhoods with a variety of mobility options. The savings of dedicated affordable housing and decreased transportation costs allow greater independence and choice as well as increased ability to spend on essential services such as healthcare.
Bold and effective measures to increase and maintain affordable housing will require similarly bold measures to ensure available and accessible transportation. To build housing, hospitals and other facilities needed by older adults and others with limited mobility on the periphery of communities— where there is little or no accessible transportation—is sure to contribute to increased isolation as well as increased cost of supportive services such as those Via provides.
If someone lives in an affordable location, yet can’t access the community, then what benefit has been achieved?
Via is an effective part of the solution and has much to contribute to the debate over transportation needs of the future and its link to affordable housing. For the thousands of people Via served last year through its family of services, and who, with our help, continued to live as independently as possible in their own homes—well, this could be considered aging in place and affordable housing at its very best.
Housing is a basic need. Mobility is a basic need.2015 ANNUAL REPORT