2. Creative Affordable Housing. Shipping containers are cheap,

the rent increases and federal laws don’t always protect seniors from these arbitrary rate changes. I spent 24 years in the military and decades more advocating for senior citizens and believe a caring and involved community is para- mount to the success of any well-in- tended housing program. Com- munities and local governments can work together to make aging a blessing, not a curse. A strong partnership among communities, advocates, home builders and government agen- cies may be the best way to create a better future. Those options can range from fixed rent controls for seniors, the use of shipping contain- ers to create housing, and access to vacant lands and empty buildings currently controlled by state and local governments. How real estate investors can help alleviate homelessness among the senior population: 1. Fair Housing Projects. Invest more in the affordable and fair housing projects. Affordability is key. Seniors are not able to compete in the housing market these days. Rent is at a high again, with prices that we have never seen. In some areas, rent surged by 30 percent. Not one senior has seen an increase of their retirement benefit for that much, so it makes it clear that more affordable housing units need to be available, and cities must start taking notice. It takes a while to build such a large number that is needed, so the sooner the better for higher density requests that must be approved.

now work well beyond retirement age to make ends meet. And then, health and aging issues make it difficult for seniors to obtain jobs. In addition, many companies shy away from older employees. The stress that comes from aging, as well as the death of spouses and friends, adds to the challenges many seniors now face. More seniors have chosen to age in place, holding onto their single-fam- ily residences longer than previous generations. However, aging in place may not be possible for all seniors, especially those who need extra help and those who rent. Seniors who live on fixed incomes are vulnerable to

but construction material is increasing daily at a rate that

soon cannot be sustained. Vacant land and high-density approval are key. Government land must be made available to developers and developers must be very tight with their budgets. Not meeting schedules and going over budgets lead to higher rent and less profitability. 3. Multifamily Housing. Affordable, multifamily housing is one of the top answers to the housing crisis, especially if you are thinking about seniors, workforce, veterans and low- income families. A multifamily project that is mixed-use and offers transportation could be somewhat of an answer but must also offer many other programs that help the residents like after-

school activities for children of working parents, assistance to seniors, transportation, counselling, mentoring, job placement, and more. •

Nick Saifan served in the U.S. military for 24 years. He experienced firsthand the difficulties of transitioning from military life to civilian life, and as a co-founder of

a community-based nonprofit, he watched the difficulty in getting donations increase each year. Today, he’s putting his business savvy where his heart is. Vendaval Corporation visualizes a sustainable business structure creating the opportunity for helping those in need with successful community-based programs. The differentiator in the communities he visualizes is self-sufficient affordable housing in a mixed-use development that offers on-site programs for veterans, youth, education, childcare, on-the-job training, and job placement. For more information visit

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