The continued rise in home prices could have a deleterious impact on the state of senior housing, according to Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
According to an Orlando Sentinel report
, Dr. Carson raised the issue yesterday during his keynote speech at the LeadingAge Florida annual convention. Citing a proverb that “you can gauge a society by the way they treat their elderly,” he noted that market forces are not working in favor of older Americans on fixed incomes.
“I’m very concerned about seniors who become destitute, who are forced into low-income housing,” Dr. Carson said. “Many look to HUD for affordable housing or assisted housing, but they confront a brutal reality: The market is becoming more expensive. Inner cities have become high-end markets, pricing low- and middle-class Americans out.”
Dr. Carson pointed to HUD’s policies on reverse mortgages, including proposals that limit the initial amount of equity seniors can draw on while requiring a financial assessment to ensure seniors can to continue to pay property taxes and health care costs. He also stated his commitment to require lenders fully disclose all conditions of the reverse mortgage.
Ultimately, the HUD secretary cautioned that the issue should be the basis of a conversation and not a Washington-rooted monologue. “The government works for the people, the people don’t work for the government,” he said. “We need to listen carefully to what people are saying, and react in a way that increases everyone’s freedom. Through good health practices, good financial health [and] creative leveraging of finances, we’ll meet the needs of seniors and maintain their independence.”