The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently reported that the number of adults 65 and older swelled from 43 million in 2012 to 58 million in 2022, a 34% increase.

This demographic shift only hints at an affordable housing crisis that impacts the lives of more and more baby boomers and their families.

The numbers are personal for Vincent Toye: His 80-year-old mother waited two years to move into her senior living apartment. “She wanted to move out of the house into a seniors (55+) apartment. It was very difficult,” says the head of community development banking at JPMorgan Chase, the firm behind the creation and preservation of over 134,000 affordable housing rental units since 2014.

What are Toye’s views on the affordable housing crisis for seniors? The community development banking leader recently shared his thoughts.

How do you describe the senior affordable housing crisis?

People are living longer and healthier, so it’s an issue that’s going to be with us for a long time. The Harvard report says the number of seniors that are cost burdened by housing is at an all-time high. Part of the challenge is senior affordable housing isn’t talked about with the same intensity as homeless, workforce, and veterans housing. The fact is, seniors are the fastest growing segment of America’s homeless population. Their housing requirements must accommodate specific needs, such as aging in place. There simply aren’t enough affordable housing units to go around, and that pain is increasingly felt by baby boomers.

Municipalities tend to focus more on families and other groups. Most states have to recognize the senior housing conversation deserves more attention.

Some seniors prefer to live in age-restricted communities. What are your thoughts?

It’s a question many of our affordable housing developers are sensitive to. I recently toured Pilgrim Village in Buffalo, New York. The $88 million affordable housing complex includes a 105-unit senior housing community alongside a 132-unit family community. The project is the largest low-income housing tax credit-financed multifamily development in the state, outside of New York City, to achieve net zero certification. We participated with direct-pay letters of credit.

Seniors at Pilgrim Village are separated by a courtyard but can easily engage with children and younger adults at any time though the on-site community center and greenspace.

Any other projects come to mind?

In Florida we provided a construction loan facility for Casa Di Francesco in Hillsborough County. The 140-unit, $41.7 million project is a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

In Seattle our team purchased $23.4 million of tax-exempt bonds and provided $2.8 million in taxable loans for the construction of Pride Place, a 118-unit senior LGBTQ housing community. We worked with a large team of partners, including a variety of public-sector organizations.

What other steps is JPMorgan Chase taking to address affordable housing for seniors?

Stepping up with financing assistance is only part of the solution. It’s also the firm’s mission to better inform public and private discussion through research from our policy center and keeping the topic front and center on Capitol Hill and statehouses with our government relations team.

No one can solve this problem alone. It requires all of us to join forces and craft workable long-term solutions.

To learn more, get in touch with the JPMorgan Chase Community Development Banking team.