Housing and Economic Security
Financial and housing worries topped the list of concerns across all income levels. Given housing costs in the San Francisco Bay Area, most housing is no longer affordable; nor, is there a continuum of housing options (including assisted living) available in Berkeley as we age. More affordable housing is needed to prevent further displacement. Should older adults remain in their homes, they need affordable options for safety and accessibility home modifications. While there are several housing programs in Berkeley, and some programs specifically designed to help low income seniors, they are disconnected and it is clear from focus groups that people are unaware of them. Berkeley also needs to work with neighboring communities to expand eligibility criteria for those just above income guidelines who struggle without subsidized programs. Additionally, many residents believed that there are not enough flexible jobs with accommodations for older workers to stay employed. 20% of those who reported that they are retired are, in fact, “gigging” to make ends meet. The scale of these problems requires broad, often regional, policy solutions.
Already In Development
✔ Senior and disabled home loan program
✔ Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) policies
✔ Expanded home safety inspection program
✔ Several pilot programs: Homeless Coordinated Entry, Berkeley Home Match and the development of a Service Linked Senior Housing/ Community Center model
✔ Business Succession Planning
Goal and Recommendations
Develop a continuum of affordable, accessible housing options for older adults to age in their community regardless of their health or financial status.
➔ Equity and Inclusion:
Include targets for the older adult population in the City Housing Element.
Address the need for affordable, accessible housing at all levels of need; expand eligibility criteria for subsidized services to raise access levels to moderate income individuals.
Expand access to supportive housing for vulnerable populations.
Provide an online resource and educational workshops at Senior Centers about renters’ rights and strategies to qualify for access to both market and below market rate housing.
Offer workshops and education on financial planning and elder fraud abuse.
Assess and map housing options for the public via written materials and the internet.
Provide broader communication of assistance with local taxes for low income residents.
➔ Infrastructure and Policy:
Develop a program for housing cost relief for moderate income seniors who do not qualify for income restricted housing.
Incorporate mixed zoning in all neighborhoods, increasing walkability and access to services and commercial areas.
Pursue affordable settings for out-of-home assisted living (e.g., CCRC and alternatives).
Enable increased development of accessory dwelling units (ADU) by streamlining the construction approval process.
Create a culture and community
that is inclusive, equitable, and
accessible for people of all ages.
The Goal of Age-Friendly Berkeley