Tackling Housing Stability in Rural Populations

Rural America, with its serene landscapes and tight-knit communities, conceals a pressing concern: the housing challenges faced by its older adults. Aging in place, a deeply cherished desire for many seniors, becomes a complex issue in these regions.

The Hidden Crisis of Rural Homelessness

While urban areas display overt signs of homelessness, rural regions often camouflage the issue. Many seniors, despite owning homes, grapple with housing insecurity, often resorting to temporary solutions like living with relatives. Economic challenges, such as the rising cost of housing against stagnant wages, further intensify the problem. Homelessness in rural communities rose by almost 6% from 2020 to 2022.

The Aging Infrastructure of Rural Homes

In rural areas, over half of all households live in units built before 1980. These older homes often struggle with issues like inadequate water access, poor ventilation, and leaking roofs. The cost of maintaining these aging structures is significantly higher, leading to many homes being abandoned or in dire need of repair.

The Foundation of Rural Development

Quality housing is foundational for rural community development. Investments in housing can lead to more job opportunities, better health outcomes, and the revitalization of rural areas.

Challenges of Aging in Rural Settings

Rural areas present a unique set of challenges for seniors:

  • Healthcare, Housing, and Services: Limited access to essential services compared to urban areas.
  • Physical Changes with Aging: Vision and hearing impairments, cognitive decline, and mobility limitations.
  • Caregiving: About 30% of older adults receive caregiving, but with younger populations migrating, support becomes scarce.
  • Financial Insecurity: Many seniors, especially renters, contend with housing affordability.
  • Transportation: Over 90% of trips in rural areas are by private automobiles, posing challenges when seniors can no longer drive.
  • Food Insecurity: A significant concern affecting the overall health and well-being of older adults.

Our Rural Commitment

While Upside boasts a national presence, its commitment to rural areas is particularly noteworthy. In regions with limited multifamily properties, Upside adopts a versatile approach. This could involve collaborating with the few existing multi-family providers, acting as a tenant advocate directly with landlords, or partnering with local real estate professionals for the sale or purchase of homes. Upside ensures coverage both nationally and specifically in rural environments but it’s essential to understand that rural areas typically require longer spool-up times to align and recognize resources in that given market.

Upside’s Approach

Understanding the profound benefits of allowing seniors to age in their homes, Upside offers a holistic solution:

  • Engagement: Directly connecting with members to understand their needs.
  • Data Collection: Using claims data to pinpoint potential housing insecurities.
  • Intervention: Upside’s Care Guides offer personalized solutions, ensuring every senior’s unique needs are addressed.

How We Do It

Upside’s methodology is a blend of compassion and data-driven strategies:

  • In-Home Assessment: Ensuring living conditions align with health and safety needs.
  • Personalized Safety Plans: Tailored solutions based on individual requirements.
  • Housing Navigation: Assisting members in finding safe, stable housing, especially when basic modifications fall short.

Empowering Rural Seniors

The housing stability of older adults in rural populations is a call to action. With initiatives like Upside, we can ensure that every senior, irrespective of their location, has a place they can call home.

Upside Corporate Headquarters

6365 NW 6TH Way, Suite 200

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309