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Seniors struggle to find affordable housing in Lehigh Valley

Despite all the new apartments in the Lehigh Valley, finding affordable housing for seniors requires a lot of patience.

As housing and rental rates have continued to rise over the years, affordable housing is becoming a luxury many can't afford to have.

Allentown's Kay Sandt has lived in her apartment for 20 years, but that will soon change.

"I'm very concerned," she said. "I get spousal support but if that stops I'm thrown out of here."

A new landlord is raising her rent by nearly $200, which will take up 90 percent of her $711 monthly social security check. Sandt is looking for a new place she can afford.

"Are you surprised how hard it is to find affordable housing for seniors here?" 69 News reporter Bo Koltnow asked her.

"Definitely. Never thought it would be this bad," she said.

"There is a long waiting list on buildings that have rental subsidies for seniors," said Ed Kaminski.

Kaminski, director of business development at HDC Mid Atlantic, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, says demand for low-income senior housing has outpaced supply, both in the Lehigh Valley and around the country.

"Low income housing tax credit is the only program available today to build affordable housing and it's oversubscribed," Kaminski said.

That means there aren't many built each year statewide.

Sacred Heart Apartments is an example of a new affordable senior housing in Allentown. However, the developer says they already have a backlog of applicants.

Bonnie Guyton moved in this past Spring after being on an affordable housing wait list for two and half years.

"On a fixed income. It's hard. Seniors, you know, can't afford a lot. It's a big help," she said.

Sandt is hoping her wait is much shorter.

"If you can't find a place to live what do you think you'll do?" Koltnow asked her.

"I don't know; thinking maybe a motel," she said.

You can apply at HUD to be put on a waiting list.


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