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Organization working to aid the group most threatened by lack of affordable housing: Seniors

Posted at 5:38 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 19:49:14-05

CINCINNATI — Senior citizens make up more than 10,000 households in Hamilton County struggling to make ends meet and facing housing insecurity. The Kennedy Heights Development Corporation is working to fight this by helping senior citizens in the area find the resources they need.

A 2017 study from the Community Building Institute found that 23 percent of families in need of affordable housing are senior citizens.

Earnie Barbeau and Steve Greisier have spent decades calling Kennedy Heights home, and now they're working with the Kennedy Heights Development Corporation to help seniors in their community.

"They may have lived in their house for a long time and as taxes go up, they have a struggling time to pay those expenses," said Barbeau. "As they need repairs, they don't often have the resources."

Their team works with The Caring Place and case workers to identify seniors who may be looking for a place, or need assistance in making their home adaptable.

"It's not just a question of housing; there is also all sorts of other related issues," said Barbeau. "Health issues, isolation, a raft of issues."

The pair are looking toward the future to develop affordable options that, according to Greisier, must be creative as the issue persists. Their team is working on plans for affordable housing similar to a new 18-unit senior-living building in South Cumminsville.

"There has got to be a lot of possibilities," said Greisier. "Granny flats, or something like that, or smaller buildings. Also looking into taking four families and re-doing those with the possibility of having seniors and others living together in the same facility."

Their overall goal is that aging members of the Kennedy Heights community don't have to leave their neighborhoods as they grow older, even if they struggle to afford their current homes.

"We are working on a project to develop a 55-bedroom facility for seniors here in Kennedy," said Greisier.

He said those plans are in the works, but will take some time. Currently, the Kennedy Heights Development Corporation also works with local food pantries and resource centers to help identify seniors who need help with their housing.