Between 2015 and 2050, CMAP projects that the region’s senior population will increase by 880,000 people. Residents over the age of 75 are anticipated to more than double.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Draft ON TO 2050 Socioeconomic Forecast,” 2016,}} In addition, about 800,000 residents currently (10 percent of the population) report a disability. That figure will grow as the population ages and as people with disabilities transition from congregate care settings into home and community-based service settings.{{Chicago Community Trust, “Disability in the Chicago Region,” 2015,}} These changing demographics will only further increase the need for senior housing, accessible housing, and housing with easy access to services and amenities in our region.

Three concepts are central to increasing the amount of accessible and senior housing. First, the region needs new accessible units. Local accessibility/visitability standards, like those adopted by Bolingbrook, help communities create new accessible units.{{Accessibility/Visitability Requirements, Home Grown,}} Second, improving existing homes will allow disabled persons and seniors to find homes that meet their needs. Home modification programs, like the Handyman program offered by the Northwest Housing Partnership, can address issues in existing homes.{{Handyman Program, Northwest Housing Partnership,}} Finally, accessibility is about more than just the ease with which a person can move in and around their home. Location and transportation matters too. Housing in walkable neighborhoods with nearby shopping, employment, health care, and bus and rail service helps people access daily needs as well. Pursuing all three paths is an important part of ensuring that communities offer a diversity of accessible housing options in amenity-rich locations. See CMAP’s Aging in Place whitepaper for a set of housing and community strategies to support the region’s growing senior population.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Aging in Place” 2016, Housing.}}

Action 1

Plan for and permit housing types that increase the number of accessible and affordable units for seniors and people with disabilities, such as multi-family housing, mixed-use housing, transit-oriented housing, accessory dwelling units, co-housing, and multi-generational housing.


Municipalities and counties

Action 2

Implement local efforts to improve the accessibility of existing units, such as home modification programs and home safety assessments.


Local governments and civic organizations