On May 14th members of the H.O.M.E. community gathered to Participate in an On the Table discussion. On the Table is an annual event where people around Chicago gather to share a meal and engage in discussions about our communities. This year, On the Table conversations will become a Memo to the Mayor – a way to let Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and her administration know how to prioritize what Chicagoans from across the city want. In the spirit of Older Americans Month and H.O.M.E.'s mission we focused our discussion on older adults and where - and how- they will be able to live in the coming years as the aging population grows.
Memo – and an Invitation – for Mayor-Elect Lightfoot
From: Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)
Re: Where – and How -- Will Chicago’s Growing Older Adult Population Live?
Dear Mayor-Elect Lightfoot:
You may not (yet) be familiar with H.O.M.E., but we share many core values with you. H.O.M.E. is committed to improving the quality of life for Chicago’s low-income older adults and helping them remain independent and part of their communities by providing intergenerational living and a variety of support services such as housing upkeep and repair, a shopping bus, and a moving program.
14 of us (½ H.O.M.E. residents and ½ staff and Board members) gathered yesterday for an “On the Table” lunch discussion on the issue of housing for older adults. We gathered at the Nathalie Salmon House in Rogers Park, a 54-unit accessible H.O.M.E. building that houses 42 older adults, six resident assistants, and four families. We would love to have you visit us, and this memo also serves as an open invitation for you to come visit and tour our home.
Our discussion was not data-driven – we recognize, as you may as well, that our older adult population is growing, with projections suggesting that while currently about 1 of 8 Chicagoans is age 65 or above, by 2030 about 1 in 5 may be – rather we shared our lived experiences and perspectives of the type of housing that best supports older adults in Chicago neighborhoods.
Our older adult participants all felt fortunate to live in very friendly, affordable, safe and well-managed H.O.M.E. buildings in which a strong sense of intergenerational community is engendered. But they bemoaned thoughts of how so many older adults throughout Chicago do not have the opportunity to live in similar housing that is appropriate to the needs and interests of older adults. We all agreed that while our few buildings provide a strong sense of community, rarely did our broader neighborhoods do so, leading increasing numbers of older adults to live compromised and isolated.
What would we like for you to do as our new Mayor? There is no easy answer, as the issues important to older adults in their communities – such as affordable housing, accessibility, safety, access to services, transportation options – are broad and complex, but we suggest that these issues are in most ways the same issues that are important to all Chicagoans. But please, specifically consider older adults in all upcoming city policy and equity conversations and make full and creative use of all tools and levers of city government to support older adults and help provide an adequate and appropriate range of housing options in all Chicago neighborhoods.
H.O.M.E. is happy to be of service to help your administration figure out “Where – and How --Will Chicago’s Growing Older Adult Population Live?”
Looking for a way to get involved with seniors in Chicago? Find out more by following the link below.
Do you want updates and tips in your inbox every week? Remember to subscribe to Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.