Nonprofit takes aim at housing needs of seniors

CONYERS — The need for affordable housing for seniors is growing in Rockdale County and is expected to continue increase dramatically in the next 15 to 20 years.

Diane Adoma, secretary for the nonprofit Affordable Housing Community Development Corp. based in Conyers, said the 2010 census showed that 19,266 residents of Rockdale County — or 22.7 percent — were over the age of 55. That figure is expected to increase by more than 200 percent by 2030, she said, making seniors the fastest-growing segment of the county’s population.

In an effort to meet the increasing need among seniors for affordable housing, Adoma said AHCDC is working with community leaders to find solutions to meet that demand. She said AHCDC plans to apply for a Georgia Department of Community Affairs tax credit award to help in the process of building a high-quality, gated rental housing community for senior citizens and military veterans.

“One of the things that is happening is that a lot of our senior citizens are moving to DeKalb or Newton counties because we just cannot provide them with the housing they need,” Adoma said.

A series of community workshops and town hall meetings will be held to educate the community on the need for affordable senior housing, she said. The first meeting will be held on April 10, 10 a.m. to noon, at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library on Green Street. Organizers will answer questions from the public and provide brochures and other information on addressing the senior housing demand.

Adoma emphasized that AHCDC is not planning a public housing development. “This is not public housing, but affordable housing with lots of amenities for our valued senior citizens,” she said.

She said some of the units in the proposed family-friendly development may be available for sale, while others may be rented based on income requirements.

Investors are looking at several sites in Rockdale County, she said, but have not selected a location for the development.

Adoma said AHCDC has been in operation since 2005.

“It was a project that R.J. Hadley was working on, and when he got elected tax commissioner, they approached me and said ‘We need someone to drive this project,’” Adoma said.

The increasing demand for senior housing has also been noted at the state level. The Georgia Council on Aging prepared a comprehensive report on Georgia’s readiness to address the needs of the expanding aging population in 2010. “Project 2020: Georgia For a Lifetime,” found that Georgia was not prepared to meet the housing needs of seniors.

“Most of the housing built in Georgia over the last 60 years has ignored the needs of older adults,” the report stated. “The majority of older adults live in homes that are not able to accommodate disability, whether physical or cognitive, temporary or permanent. Too many older adults live in neighborhoods or subdivisions located far from services, trapping them when they are no longer able to drive.”

For more information on AHCDC contact Adoma at 678-374-9174 or affordablecdc@gmail.com.