In 2016, more than three-quarters of low-income older Californians whose head of household is age 65 or over are “rent burdened,” and more than half are “severely rent burdened," The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines housing costs that are over 30 percent of the pretax family income as a burden, and costs of over 50 percent as a severe burden.
For most older adult renters who are retired and on fixed incomes, rising rents create a particular challenge. These tenants have often lived in the same unit for many years, have established ties with their health care providers and community services, and have support networks of friends nearby. If rents rise too high, they can be forced to leave their support networks for distant but less expensive housing.
- Steven P. Wallace, PhD
- D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, PhD, MPH