Aging Matters: Locally

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Housing Matters in Portland

This research project sought to identify how older persons who live in apartment buildings use informal and formal types of assistance in order to live as independently as possible. Participants included affordable housing property managers, service coordinators, and older tenants, as well as older persons who are on waiting lists for subsidized housing. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, auto photography, and ethnographic observation. The project was designed to inform our understanding of how an individual's social and physical environment affects their perceptions and experience of independent living.

In all, the Housing Matters Study team conducted interviews with over 55 people, including 30 individuals currently living subsidized apartments, nearly 20 people on waiting lists for subsidized apartments, and property management staff at 7 different apartment buildings in Multnomah County. Though we are still in the process of analyzing the data, we clearly have uncovered some very interesting and thought-provoking ideas which we plan to share with community leaders and housing providers in the upcoming months.

Recent Publications

NEW Report! The Health and Housing Specialist: An Emerging Job Classification to Support Aging in Place in Subsidized Housing

This report, funded by the Northwest Health Foundation, details the findings from our 2011-2012 study examining the staffing needs to support older adults who are aging in place in subsidized housing.  As older residents of subsidized housing age in place, qualified workers will be needed who can respond to the health-related needs and social services associated with an aging population.

In addition to interviewing more than 65 housing providers, health and social services professionals who have clients in subsidized housing, current residents, and resident service coordinators in the Portland area, we surveyed Resident Service Coordinators from 23 states to identify the specific job tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities required of subsidized housing employees to support residents who are aging in place. 

The full report and the executive summary are available for download. 


Home Forward’s Aging-in-Place Initiative:

Planning for the Aging in Place of Current and Future Residents. A report by Portland State University’s Institute on Aging
Report by Paula C. Carder, PhD, Jenny Weinstein, MSW, MURP, and Jacklyn Kohon, Doctoral Student

This past summer, Home Forward (formerly called the Housing Authority of Portland), the largest provider of affordable housing in our region, contracted with PSU's Institute on Aging to help them prepare and plan for an increasingly aged resident population. Nationally, more than one-third (37%) of the approximately 5 million households receiving housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are those headed by persons 62 and older (Locke, 2011). Housing advocates estimate that, nationally, the aging of the population will result in the need for an additional 730,000 units of affordable housing by 2020 (Commission on Affordable Housing, 2002). Over the next twenty years projections estimate that Multnomah County and communities all over the U.S. will experience a doubling in the number of individuals who are over age 65. This dramatic change in the composition of our population will require affordable housing providers, like Home Forward, to be intentional in the ways they respond and adapt to the changing needs of residents.

Using a variety of methods, including focus groups, surveys, and market analysis, researchers gathered information about older adults currently residing in public housing properties, those on a waiting list for housing, and older adults in the Portland area who are likely to be eligible for Home Forward's housing in the future.

Download a full PDF of the report
Download the Executive Summary 

Manufactured Home Parks: NORCs Awaiting Discovery, by Andrée Tremoulet, PhD (2010).  Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 24: 3, 335-355.

State Experiences with Affordable Housing Plus Services, a report for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, On the Move, by Paula Carder, PhD & Erika Zoller, MPH

Housing Instability Among Older Persons in Multnomah County, a briefing paper intended to be a resource for community leaders, policy makers, advocates, self-described "agitators" and agency/non-profit staff to plan for the graying of Multnomah County's population (COMING SOON).

Recent Presentations

DeShane, M., K. Brown Wilson, M. Neal, P. Carder, A. Tremoulet, and J. Weinstein. 2010. “Aging Matters: Responding to Vulnerable Elders, Locally and Globally” paper presented at the American Society on Aging Conference, March 16-20, Chicago, Illinois.

Weinstein, J. and P. Carder. 2010. “Visualizing the Meaning of Independence for Older Adults in Subsidized Housing with Photovoice” paper presented as part of an organized symposium at the Advances in Qualitative Methods Conference, October 7-8, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kohon, J., P. Carder, and J. Weinstein. 2011. “Photovoice as a Supplemental Research Method: Visualizing the Meaning of Independence for Older Adults Living in Subsidized Housing” paper presented as part of a symposium at the International Visual Sociology Association Conference, June 6-8, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Weinstein, J., P. Carder, and J. Kohon. 2011. “Capturing "Neighborhood" Through a New Lens: Using Photovoice and GIS to Understand How Older Adults Perceive their Urban Surroundings” paper presented as part of a symposium at the Gerontological Society of America, November 18-22, Boston, Massachusetts.

Student Papers

Making the Case for Supportive Services for Older Adults in Government Subsidized Housing, by Jenny Weinstein, MSW, MURP

Supportive Services in Public Housing, by Trinadad Gomez, MSW