Hastings Center News

A Housing Lens for Policy Ideas on Aging

Most Americans want to age in place, but that goal relies on housing affordability, accessibility, and proximity to services. A new project, led by Hastings Center research scholar Nancy Berlinger, will apply a “housing lens,” developed through empirical bioethics research, to age-focused policymaking and social innovation. The project is supported by the Greenwall Foundation in the first round of its new grant making program, Bridging Bioethics Research & Policy.

Through collaboration with a socially engaged network of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, the project will produce a set of issue briefs that critically analyze ideas at the intersection of health policy and housing policy. The issue briefs will be designed for age-focused policymakers at the state, regional, and local levels, reflecting their roles in master planning, building codes, Medicaid, incentivizing housing development, and interfacing with federal policymakers and private-sector partners. Dissemination will target “age-friendly” policymakers and networks at state, regional, and local levels.

The project will be co-led by Jennifer Molinsky, director of the Housing an Aging Society program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, and Lauren Taylor, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a Hastings Center senior advisor. It will draw on a research network of scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and advocates that Berlinger and Molinsky established in 2020 to support analysis of problems and solutions at the intersection of housing, aging, and health.

Berlinger and Molinsky’s empirical research, including the housing lens, was published on October 6 as a report, summary and recommendations, and webinar. For more about The Hastings Center’s work on population aging, visit the Bioethics for Aging Societies webpage.