A Busy Summer: Fellowship Gave UMB Gerontology PhD Student a Role in Boston’s Efforts to Back Housing With Services for Older Adults

Setarreh MassihzadeganHow can cities analyze the costs of providing supportive housing for older adults and evaluate proposals from developers seeking municipal support?  The not-so-surprising answer: It’s complicated.

Ask Setarreh Massihzadegan, who began her second year in UMass Boston’s Gerontology PhD program this month. She spent the past summer working through exactly that challenge.

While completing her first year as a PhD student, Massihzadegan applied for the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston’s Public Policy Summer Fellowship. The program led her to a position at the Neighborhood Housing Development Division within the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND).

The job: A deep dive into the operating expense details of affordable housing plus services for older adults in Boston. Massihzadegan researched those operating costs, then created a descriptive analysis of her findings to support DND’s process of evaluating developer requests for support and to inform future underwriting policies at the department.

She also provided recommendations that led to changes to the city’s annual Request for Proposals covering housing development assistance this year. Continue reading

How Housing Plus Services Addresses Senior Needs

By Meghan Hendricksen

A shortage of affordable housing for seniors will pose a huge challenge for the United States in the years ahead. But finding homes for those elders is only part of the solution, according to Alisha Sanders.

Helping seniors deal with health issues locally and age in place in their homes should be an important element of any housing plan, she said.

Sanders, director of Housing & Services Policy Research at LeadingAge, was the final fall speaker series guest at UMass Boston’s Gerontology Department. Her talk, “Affordable Senior Housing Plus Services: Meeting the Needs of Low-Income Seniors,” stressed the value of providing housing and services together. Continue reading