Sen. Gillibrand Pushes To Provide Accessible, Affordable Housing For Older Americans, Persons With Disabilities, Through VITAL Act



A HUD Study Found That Less Than 4% Of Housing In U.S. Is Accessible As of 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, is pushing for a bill to address the housing affordability and accessibility crisis in the United States. The Visitable Inclusive Tax Credits for Accessible Living (VITAL) Act would increase investment in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and ensure that developers are building more accessible housing units that are designed for older adults and people with disabilities. The bill would also help ensure that new units are located within communities where residents can walk or move around easily in wheelchairs. This bill is led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Senator Gillibrand has been traveling across New York to discuss the priorities of older Americans and people living with disabilities. Accessible homes that can offer specific features and technologies, such as lowered kitchen counters and sinks, widened doorways, grab bars, and no step showers, remain top-of-mind for New Yorkers.

“By 2034, the number of adults age 65 and older will be greater than the number of children under 18 for the first time ever, and we need to make sure our priorities match this changing landscape. As a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, I have traveled across New York talking to older Americans and understand that aging with dignity means safeguarding the right to age in place,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The VITAL Act would make this possible by investing in aging-friendly living spaces that meet mobility and accessibility needs for our seniors and people living with disabilities. With more than 40% of Americans age 65 and older living with some type of disability, this need is urgent. I am a proud cosponsor of this bill and I am committed to removing barriers to affordable and accessible housing for all older Americans.”

According to a 2015 study from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), less than 4% of housing is designed to be accessible as of 2011. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a federal program providing tax credits to developers who build new housing for low-income renters. The VITAL Act would increase funding for the LIHTC program to increase the number of accessible homes so that more people with disabilities and older adults can live in the communities they choose. It would also require that the states administering LIHTC construct at least 20% of their LIHTC units as accessible and/or walkable and rollable.

The VITAL Act is endorsed by The Kelsey, LeadingAge, Pathways to Housing PA, TriageCancer, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Liberty Housing Development Cooperation, National Council on Independent Living, National Disability Rights Network, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, The Arc of the United States, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Justice in Aging, National Housing Law Project, National Council on Aging, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National NeighborWorks Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, TASH, ANCOR, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and The Amputee Coalition.

Read more about the VITAL Act here.

Banner Image: Affordable housing. Image Credit – Breno Assis


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