Alaska is witnessing a population boom among senior citizens and some fear senior housing is not keeping pace. The CIRI-affiliated nonprofit Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) is among the organizations stepping up to meet the challenge, although officials acknowledge it won’t be easy.
“Get ready for the silver tide,” Carol Gore, CIHA president and CEO, said during a presentation at the Alaska State Capitol Building in February. “And if I was going to articulate this more properly, I would call it a tsunami.”
Alaska has seen an 85 percent increase in the senior population between 2000 and 2011. However, senior housing hasn’t grown with the population. Gore spoke about Alaska’s senior citizens housing grant fund administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
The senior housing grant fund has helped finance 268 senior housing units in Alaska since 2009. Kodiak, Soldotna and Eagle River received grant funds for 94 rentals in 2012. However, applications for 163 shovel-ready senior housing units were not approved due to not enough available funding in 2012 to meet the need.
Meanwhile, CIHA plans to build more than 50 units of senior housing in Eagle River. Construction of the Coronado Park Senior Village on Coronado Road is set to begin this spring. CIHA is building a total of 56 one- and two-bedroom rental units for seniors. Some units will come with garages.
The development will be a mix of affordable rentals – for households at 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below – and market-rate units. Rent for a one-bedroom with no garage will range from $710 to $935. The project will be powered by a solar-thermal system, making it the largest alternative energy system in a residential building in Alaska. The system will provide more than half the energy to heat hot water for domestic use. Contractor Neeser Construction anticipates completing construction in 2014. For more information visit CIHA’s website at www.cookinlethousing.org.