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Area 1: Housing
Housing is considered to be a universal human need. We need to be able to house our aging population and to make Chesapeake a friendly to people of all ages and abilities. It is important to assure a full range of housing options that are planned and built to be accessible, affordable, healthy, secure, located near amenities and services, and that facilitate social interaction.
|The 55+ Survey reveals that the community ranks the availability and affordability of accessible housing as their second most suggested area for community investment to enable independent living.|
Action Item 1.1 – Provide Education to Consumers, Planners and Developers: Age-friendly housing must be better understood on both the supply and demand sides.
- Educate residents who are looking for housing and those who desire to stay in their existing homes about options and costs so that they can find the best fit with their current and, ideally, their future needs, whether they are looking for affordable or market-rate housing or they are seeking long-term care services and supports.
- Offer streamlined guidance to planners and developers regarding best practices for age-friendly housing and technical assistance for completing age- and ability-appropriate housing (e.g., zoning and building codes, resources for answering questions, checklists of housing characteristics, pattern books, universal design standards).
- Offer suggestions for home modifications to increase accessibility.
Action Item 1.2 – Improve Accessibility: Policy efforts that lead to inclusive and accessible housing are critical for our City as we all continue to age.
- Adopt policies, offer incentives and implement programs to enhance aspects of age-friendly policies and programs in the City's Comprehensive Plans including accessible infrastructure – sidewalks, curb cuts, cross walks, transportation shelters – to connect housing to social, medical, recreational, faith based, and employment centers (“walkability”),
- Review and strengthen policies that pertain to tax abatements, local and statewide structural code, fair housing, green building, urban renewal, visit ability (minimally, having at least one no-step entrance, interior doors providing 31.75 inches or more of unobstructed passage space, and a toilet on the main floor), and affordability to increase the availability of accessible housing for older adults.
Action Item 1.3 – Encourage Innovative Approaches to Housing Older Adults: Chesapeake desires to be a leader in urban planning and smart growth. The city has a unique opportunity to advance the planning and development of sustainable housing and communities for residents of all ages.
- Encourage demonstration projects, design competitions, innovative approaches to shared housing (e.g., accessible accessory dwelling units, shared single-family homes, flex suites), and inter-generational housing and all-age communities.
- Encourage the development of housing for veterans, previously homeless, and other at risk populations.
Action Item 1.4 – Advance Opportunities for Aging in Community: Chesapeake is a city of neighborhoods, each with their own geographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Opportunities to age in place should be available in each of Chesapeake's neighborhoods to provide ample choices for community-residing older adults as well as to foster healthy, connected neighborhoods.
- Review and strengthen City codes that regulate development practices in order to reduce obstacles to shared housing and other housing models that meet the needs of older adults who want to continue to live independently in their neighborhoods.
- Foster the creation of private and public outdoor spaces for social interactions in and near housing developments, particularly in parts of the city that are park deficient.
- Find ways to assist homeowners and landlords to maintain and update their housing stock as it ages including low cost maintenance/repair programs and a central referral system for quality vendors.
- Take advantage of existing and emerging technologies to assist people to age in place at home, such as unobtrusive monitoring of activity to identify changes in health, digital technologies that help people stay in touch with family and friends, and other assistive technologies.