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Fri July 13, 2012

New Orleans Bracing for Housing Baby Boomers

Population studies show that New Orleans, more than many American cities, needs to plan for housing Baby Boomers as they get older. A new study warns that blight could worsen as properties become abandoned.

A report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center shows New Orleans is at risk of worsening its housing blight if plans aren’t made to accommodate a poor and growing elder population.

“Right now in the metro area there are 142,000 residents who are 65 years and older. And, in 20 years, we can reliably forecast there will be 100,000 more,” said Center spokeswoman Allison Plyer. 

She says New Orleans seniors are also more likely to live in poverty than those in other areas of the country, and they’ll need more assisted living facilities and small public housing units. She says the city can’t depend on incoming younger workers to fill homes vacated by aging residents.

“Regardless of the influx of young professionals, the numbers will be less than the number of Baby Boomers who are aging past that 65 milestone. And so we need the housing that will accommodate those older folks and we won’t have nearly as much demand for housing that would accommodate young families.”

Plyer says historical preservation groups should prepare for a surging inventory; the city and non-profits should plan programs to help residents stay in their homes as long as possible, and developers should plan for smaller units in public housing as demands for accommodating large families is dropping.

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