Monday, October 21, 2002


Florida developer focuses on shared housing for single seniors in state


A story published today by the Tampa Tribune reports that Florida officials say that the new concept of affordable senior housing may help fill the growing need of affordable housing to the growing population of seniors in Florida.

Sunset Bay Club, a 720-bedroom apartment complex for people 55 and older, is set to open in mid-January on 15 acres at Rowan Road and Sharpsburg Boulevard, just north of State Road 54.

Utilities, furniture, maid service, local telephone service, satellite television, utensils and cookware, wall safes, a washer and dryer, and a computer and printer with Internet access are among the services included in the monthly rent of $575 to $675 per bedroom, according to the developer.

The company says its ``senior villages'' offer affordable housing to low- and moderate-income seniors, particularly widows, widowers and other singles.

``This is a completely new concept,'' said Wanda Palumbo, marketing director at the company's offices in Orlando. ``We did extensive marketing and focus groups with seniors. Statistically, New Port Richey has a very high senior population at the moderate-income level.''

There are more than 130,000 people 55 and older in Pasco, about 38 percent of the county's population, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

``Housing has become a major issue for a lot of seniors in Florida,'' said Joan Spainhower, communications director with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. ``There's limited affordable housing.''

Spainhower said the number of assisted living facilities has grown, ``but if you're an independent person, you don't need that.'' An ``elder friendly'' apartment complex may offer ``a lot of benefits,'' including affordability, companionship and safety, and mark the beginning of a trend in senior housing.




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