6.8 Million Households Have Difficulties Navigating or Using Their Homes

Date Published: 
March 10th, 2022

Recently, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University published a report analyzing how the well the U.S. housing stock meets the accessibility needs of residents who experience challenges with entering, navigating within, and using their homes. By reviewing 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS) data, researchers found that many Americans who need accessibility features in their homes do not have them. Less than half of adults who rely on a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or walker live in a home that has both a no-step entry or ramp and a bedroom and bathroom on the 2 main level. Poor housing fit was closely associated with age, with more than one of ten heads of household age 80 or older reporting that they had a hard time entering the home without assistance. Notably, JCHS reports that older households with Black or Hispanic residents have more frequent housing fit difficulties and illustrates racial disparities in housing fit among older age groups. The reports concludes that because data suggests that as housing fit worsens with age, there is a need for programs that help older adults assess their homes to identify specific accessibility barriers and modifications that can improve housing fit, as well as funding to assist residents who cannot afford needed modifications.

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