The May 2018 issue of AgeWise King County introduced you to the new Age Friendly Seattle team. On July 27, we submitted the Age Friendly Seattle Action Plan for 2018–2021 to AARP Livable Communities. Throughout its development, which started in 2017, the City of Seattle appreciated the collaborative spirit and assistance provided by AARP Livable Communities and AARP Washington and the involvement of more than 1,200 community members.
Our Action Plan outlines how the City of Seattle and community partners will implement livability targets in eight core areas advanced by AARP Livable Communities and the World Health Organization (WHO). The plan summarizes our goals and actions and illustrates how we’ll navigate the roadmap to make Seattle a great place to grow up and grow old with friends, family, and community.
Four housing goals guide the Age Friendly Seattle Action Plan’s approach for people in later adulthood, including those who are unsheltered, low income, and struggling to age in place. In the first 18 to 24 months, Age Friendly Seattle will assess older adult housing needs and develop and implement strategies especially for people in later adulthood whose financial situation is perilous.
- Assess older adult housing needs and develop and implement strategies.
- Implement strategies for older adults with financial challenges to stay in their homes.
- Explore innovative housing models (e.g., dementia-friendly housing, cooperative housing, home sharing, and partnerships among senior living communities, colleges, and universities).
- Promote visitability and independence for people with disabilities.
Age Friendly Seattle Action Plan goals are accompanied by specific actions, which you can read in Chapter 5 of the plan (pages 53–60). One of these actions calls for implementation of Moving Toward Age Friendly Housing in King County recommendations within existing resources. This housing report contains a data analysis and policy recommendations written by researchers from Washington State University and Portland State University. The report was commissioned by Aging and Disability Services (ADS)—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County—in partnership with the Seattle Office of Housing and King County Department of Community and Human Services.
Other housing actions include:
- Focus efforts to alleviate the burdens facing our unsheltered populations by developing temporary, transitional, and supportive housing. (Life expectancy is significantly lower for unsheltered persons than for the general population.)
- Address the needs of low income households by creating new and maintaining existing rental housing. (Older adults on fixed incomes cannot easily absorb rent increases. This was poignantly addressed in a recent Seattle Times article about housing in Seattle’s Chinatown International District.)
- Advocate for higher state property tax eligibility exemptions for older adults. (We would like to see more people who are already eligible for property tax relief take advantage of the savings and also raise the income threshold to help more people qualify.)
Our work will be supported by a new housing workgroup formed under the Age Friendly Coalition for Seattle and King County, which met for its first time on August 29. To learn more or get involved, e-mail ADS planner Jon Morrison Winters at Jon.MorrisonWinters@seattle.gov.
Contributor Brent Butler, AICP is the Age Friendly Seattle program manager. He can be reached via e-mail at brent.butler@Seattle.gov.
The Age Friendly Coalition for Seattle and King County welcomes new members who wish to support development of age-friendly communities throughout King County. For agendas, minutes, and meeting materials, click here. For additional information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.