New Program Will Examine the Policy, Planning, Design, and Public Health Implications of Housing the Aging US Population

Older woman looking out window while holding mug.

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Dr. Jennifer Molinsky has been named Project Director of the new Housing an Aging Society Program at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The program aims to deepen understanding of the implications of aging populations and advance policy, planning, design, and public health solutions to address the housing needs of older adults.

“With the US population aged 75 and over set to double over the next twenty years, the country will face serious challenges to ensure that older adults are safely and affordably housed,” said Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Through its research and outreach efforts, and existing leadership on housing older adults, the Center is well-positioned to shed light on the challenges we face with our aging population and encourage much-needed response from the public, private, and civic sectors.”

Dr. Jennifer MolinskyThrough research, events, and a biennial report, the program will explore equitable access to affordable, accessible, and safe housing that is well-connected to supports and services. It will also examine connections between housing, health, and quality of life.

While home and neighborhood environments matter to the health and wellbeing of all people, older age brings particular needs related to housing cost, safety, and accessibility,” says Molinsky, who is also a Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “Neighborhood design and amenities, as well as links between residence, supportive services, and medical care are important components and I’m eager to bring these interrelated issues to the fore through our research, publications, and events.”

The Housing an Aging Society Program builds on past work at the Center, including four major reports on housing an aging population, academic articles, and working papers. One of the first initiatives of the new program is the COVID-19 RECAPP (Review of Equitable Community-based Aging Policies and Practices) project. The goal of the RECAPP project is to identify promising ideas developed during the pandemic that support vulnerable populations of community-dwelling older adults. The first phase of the project, currently underway, involves a gray literature search and general call for promising policy ideas and practices.

Media contact: Kerry Donahue, (617) 495-7640, [email protected]