Virginia unprepared for "silver tsunami"

image Back in the March/April Commonwealth we told you how to prepare for the coming influx of seniors — Baby Boomers who are hitting retirement age. Some are looking to move to a smaller place, others need special facilities (e.g., wheelchair ramps), and smart Realtors are aware of the coming “silver tsunami.”

Now the good folks at Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) say that the state itself isn’t ready, in an article called “Most of Virginia’s housing is not prepared for the Age Wave.”

See, while the federal Fair Housing Act sets design and construction requirements for multi-family housing, it only affects building built after March 12, 1991. And plenty of Virginia’s housing is older than that, and is simply inaccessible.

Consider a place like Richmond with its many historic apartment buildings.  Many of these buildings were constructed well before these design and construction regulations came into effect, and as such, many of them are completely unavailable as housing to a segment of the population.

And it’s a growing segment. The Virginia Employment Commission projects that by 2030 the 85-and-over population will triple from its 2000 levels.

And today, more than 11 percent of Virginians over 75 live below the poverty line.

All this adds up to — depending on your point of view — a big problem coming down the pike… or a great opportunity.

If nothing else, check out this Builder magazine story, “Poll Looks at Housing Priorities for Retirees.”

And click here for the full article from HOME on Virginia’s preparedness.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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