New Senior Housing Development Addresses Growing Need

Opening Celebration for Tranquility at the Lakes will be held March 31 at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Communities around the country are facing a demographic tidal wave, and Virginia Beach is taking steps to address it. By 2030, estimates suggest that the number of adults over the age of 65 will increase by 50 to 75 percent — a trend commonly referred to as the "silver tsunami."

This change will have a wide-ranging impact on communities around the country — from tax revenues to transportation. For instance, older adults who can't drive any longer but still live in suburbs built for cars will require wider sidewalks and public transportation that can accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. Already, Virginia Beach recreation centers are offering exercise programs and activities for older adults and police officers are being trained in detecting elder abuse.

Developments like the new Tranquility at the Lakes, a 40-unit development for seniors in the Burton Station area, offer a model solution to another looming quandary — how aging, low-income baby boomers will afford housing.

The city has been examining both current need and future demand.

"We're tackling the issue of how to ensure that sufficient affordable housing is available to seniors with a limited budget," said Andy Friedman, director of the city's Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.

According to the Virginia Center for Housing Research, in 2015, Virginia Beach was home to about 4,200 households that included an individual 65 or older who was paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent. For seniors in this situation, there is no likelihood of an increase in income, so they end up sacrificing other necessities, like medications or food, in order to afford housing. Housing like the Tranquility units provides these individuals with more financial stability and a better quality of life.

"Virginia Beach is fortunate to have organizations that work in partnership with the city to address these needs," said Friedman. Tranquility at the Lakes was developed by Seniors Unlimited Lifestyles and Community Housing Partners, a multi-state nonprofit organization that owns and operates affordable housing throughout this region including Tranquility at the Lakes.

The Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation provided $566,000 in development funds and 20 project-based vouchers that will make half the units "deeply affordable" so that voucher-holders will only pay 30 percent of their income toward their rent and the voucher will cover the rest. These vouchers are part of a total 2,000 that the department administers throughout the city.

The remaining 20 units will have rents that are affordable to households with incomes at 60 percent or less of the area median income by family size (approximately $33,000 for a family of two).

The Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation will celebrate the opening of the new facility Friday, March 31 at 10 a.m at 5827 Burton Station Road. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation's website.

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