As Warren prepares to increase its available senior citizens housing, still missing is a plan to replenish.
Warren City Council recently lowered the age requirement from 62 years old to 55 years old in senior citizens multi-family districts. There are currently no such districts in the city but Councilman Ed Flask said Clover Management Inc. of Willamsville, N.Y., may build 120 market-rate units on 10 acres. The location remains undisclosed.
Flask said that Clover Management founder Michael Joseph requested the lower age designation.
We question whether a demand for senior housing actually exists and whether the lower age will make a difference. The Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority, for example, is planning to reduce the number of senior units in the city by tearing down the Riverside high-rise and building smaller on Parkman Road. This is a long-range plan.
If a private investor, however, wants to build in Warren, the city should do what it can to accommodate. It just seems odd that TMHA, which also offers market-rate housing, has plenty of vacancies.
While there is interest in adding senior housing, the city should devise a plan that makes attractive the homes seniors will vacate. It's safe to say that most seniors entering neighborhoods designated for those 55 and older will come from within the city. Few, if any, would be relocating here from out of town. Thus exists an opportunity to entice the next generation of homeowners.
Unfortunately, just like no solid plan exists for infill as the city demolishes abandoned, condemned houses, no strategy exists to ensure that seniors' homes end up in the hands of responsible owners. If 120 new senior units get filled, there could easily be 120 more slumlords or out-of-town landlords leasing property.