YPSILANTI — State Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti) hosted a coalition meeting yesterday with 10 legislators, nearly 50 senior advocacy groups, and many other interested statewide and local stakeholders to discuss the issue of affordable senior housing. State Reps. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) and William Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) were among those sitting on the coalition’s panel, and Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) spoke to the group about different methods for keeping housing costs down for senior citizens.

“This summer, I have been proud to join in various demonstrations and meetings with senior advocacy groups to bring attention to the housing crisis they are facing not only in Ypsilanti, but throughout Michigan,” Rep. Peterson said. “The turnout at yesterday’s meeting was extremely heartening, and I am grateful to Congresswoman Dingell, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the interested constituents and stakeholder groups for contributing to those productive conversations.”

“Increasing affordable housing options and affordable independent living must become a bipartisan priority for Michigan’s aging population,” Rep. Gay-Dagnogo said. “Seniors should not have to worry about being displaced from their homes. It is important that we truly advance policies and practices to provide for senior well-being at the most vulnerable time of their lives.”

As Michigan’s population ages, the demand for affordable senior housing increases. Similarly, as the economy experiences an upswing, housing prices throughout the state are rising in accordance with the economic boom. This has resulted in landlords taking advantage of the increase in demand for housing by converting subsidized units to market-rate housing. In Ypsilanti, senior tenants have reported rents rising anywhere from $16-$120 per month, which can be devastating for seniors living on fixed incomes.

“It is clear that there is more we can be doing to help our senior population,” Rep. Sowerby said. “It’s time we work to create housing that provides them with stable-priced units for rent, and find opportunities to increase grant dollars that would support retrofitting homes for independent senior lifestyles. It is simply unacceptable for Michigan’s senior citizens to be priced out of their homes.”

“As lawmakers, it is our obligation to ensure that our seniors are not marginalized or discriminated against in any way,” Rep. Peterson said. “Senior citizens in our community and throughout Michigan have worked hard all their lives, and deserve to have access to affordable housing. I will always fight for what is right, and that includes working to make housing affordable for all.”