Mercy Housing Awarded $170,000 Grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust to Help Older Adults Live Healthier Lives


For Immediate Release: February 3, 2020

Contact: Kate Peterson | 303.830.3443 |

With the nation’s older adult population growing at a historic rate, a leading affordable housing nonprofit, Mercy Housing has strengthened its essential older adult-health programming in the Southwest thanks to Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s $170,000 grant.

PHOENIX — Low-income older adults on fixed incomes are grappling with rising rents and costly healthcare. Mercy Housing Southwest (MHSW) is a pioneer in pairing health services with affordable housing. A $170,000 grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will support MHSW’s effort to roll out its Health Navigation program—an innovative three-year healthcare services initiative that will serve 350 older adults in Maricopa County. Low-income older adults often struggle to maintain their health and find a stable home where they can age in place, and MHSW’s Health Navigation program strives to meet this need.

Mercy Housing is a key player in the nation’s efforts to provide housing-healthcare models that are so greatly needed by older adults with low incomes. The Health Navigation program will help vulnerable older adults better manage chronic disease and discover preventative health opportunities. To strengthen this effort, MHSW has several local partners supporting this initiative and providing health services for residents.

The Health Navigation Program goals are to increase and/or maintain insurance coverage, primary care visits, and self-reported health status for participating residents in MHSW communities while reducing hospital visits.

The Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies (JCHS) estimates that the population of people aged 65 and over is estimated to grow 90% between 2010 and 2040. HUD reported that between 2013 and 2015, the number of older adults spending half their income or more on housing has risen from 1.5 to 1.9 million people. In the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA, 58% of renter households age 65 and over are spending more than 30% of their incomes on housing. The current supply of affordable housing isn’t large enough to meet the growing number of older adults in need of a stable home with supportive health education and services. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that Arizona now has just 25 affordable and available rental units for every 100 extremely low-income rental households, and Phoenix was ranked the 10th tightest rental market in the country. The Consumer Expenditure Survey found that those cost-burdened households spend an average of 70% less on healthcare.

About Mercy Housing Southwest

Mercy Housing Southwest (MHSW) provides affordable homes to people with low incomes, including seniors, and people with disabilities.

With 13 properties throughout Arizona, MHSW serves almost 700 people every day. MHSW supplements much of its housing with Resident Services, programs that help residents build stable lives. MHSW is a regional branch of Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI), a leading national affordable housing nonprofit headquartered in Denver, CO.