The AARP Foundation recently announced
$2.5 million in investments to fund three
housing organizations that serve the nation’s
vulnerable 50-plus population.
The foundation’s new impact investment
instrument will serve as a valuable funding
source for these organizations while at the
same time spark housing solutions for low income
people age 50 and older, an AARP
Spokesperson said. Each investment will
create or preserve homes for residents who
are measurably low-income and over 50
years of age. The investments will leverage
market-rate financing to multiply impact.
AARP Foundation’s Program Related Investment
(PRI) aims to create new models
of housing that are scalable and replicable;
that result in an increase in affordable and
adequate housing to fill the gap in surrounding
rural housing and rental housing; and
finally, to increase the number of affordable
and/or adequate units of housing.
“As people age, their need for safe and affordable housing grows more critical. For vulnerable older Americans housing upkeep is a challenge to maintain, particularly in these tough economic times,” said AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins. “By utilizing this ‘new’ instrument of impact investment, AARP Foundation will be a catalyst for organizations to leverage these funds and make sure more families can find a way back to stability.”
The Housing Impact Area of AARP Foundation seeks to win back opportunity for the struggling 50 and older population by helping to preserve adequacy and affordability within current homes; increasing the supply of adequate and affordable housing; raising awareness of housing needs of the low-income 50-plus population; and building thought leadership ideas on the subject through various research techniques. The national organizations that were selected by AARP Foundation include:
• NCB Capital Impact will use the investment from AARP Foundation to bring to scale the Green House Project’s innovative nursing care model, which offers an alternative approach to the traditional nursing home. Elements of Green House homes including their small scale, unique staffing model, and home-like layout, restore the dignity and sense of well-being to elders in need of nursing care, Jenkins said.
She said the model is exciting to AARP because of the potential for broad-scale market adoption across a variety of geographic and demographic markets, as well as a wide range of income levels. The AARP Foundation funds will bolster support to The Green House Project, also generously supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Weinberg Foundation.
• An investment with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc., to help fill the financing gap in the creation of affordable rental housing, rural housing and livable communities with a focus on low-income seniors. In addition to housing, Enterprise also invests in federally qualified health centers to provide and expand communitybased health services for low- and moderateincome individuals.
• ROC USAwill use the AARP Foundation investment to empower owners of manufactured homes, a vulnerable and aging group, to cooperatively purchase the land on which their homes are located. This serves a unique but growing niche in that manufactured housing is the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the country, said Jenkins.
“All of these projects aim to build, retrofit or purchase safe and affordable housing that not only helps older residents avoid high housing cost burdens, but also addresses their need for community either by helping them age in place or create a new community based a non-institutional model,” added Jenkins.