Guam's proposed tax credit for elderly housing projects moves to final reading
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
A bill seeking to provide tax credits for developers that will invest in building housing facilities for the elderly today moved to the third and final reading in the 36th Guam Legislature.
The population of senior citizens continues to grow but Guam does not have enough housing or assisted living facilities to accommodate them, said Sen. Telo Tatigaue, author of Bill 259-36.
“Bill 259 responds to the real and pressing challenges many of our families face as we navigate how best to care for our manåmko parents and grandparents, particularly at a time when the cost of food, healthcare, utilities and other essentials continues to rise,” Taitague said.
The bill creates a special qualifying certificate program for manåmko housing projects.
“This legislation is targeted to assist the development of the three types of housing opportunities and by applying any savings from the tax benefits we are hoping that the cost of construction and operational cost can be reduced to help offset some inflationary costs and ultimately, have some savings to the elderly applicants,” Carlos Camacho, executive director of Micronesia Community Development Corp., said during a public hearing on Bill 259-36 in May.
According to data that was provided in October 2021 to the Senior Housing Task Force, there were 12,700 individuals and families living in housing facilities run by the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, and 1,067 of them are 55 years and older – representing about 8.4 percent of those in public housing.
There were 408 seniors on GHURA’s waitlist for public housing which represents about 14.2 percent of the waitlist total. The information provided to the Senior Housing Task Force does not account for senior citizens living with family members.
“This measure recognizes the urgency of establishing a strong and sustainable public-private partnership that will create safe and affordable senior living communities, allowing our aging parents and grandparents to move into and transition as necessary within independent, assisted living, and nursing care housing facilities," Taitague said. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, by 2034, for the first time in the nation’s history, adults age 65 and older are expected to outnumber children. As the U.S. population grows older, states are exploring policies to ease the transition and offer support.
She noted that with a population of 160,000, Guam does not have any elderly assisted living residential communities, which is unusual for a population of its size. The last of the baby boomer generation, born in 1964, turned 55 in 2019.
GHURA has 750 public housing units, of which 82 of those units are for the elderly. GHURA operates Guma’ Trankilidåt consisting of 49 elderly units.
Guam’s last elderly community is Summer Homes in Dededo, designed as an independent living community similar to apartments, but for able-bodied manåmko. St. Dominic’s Senior Care Home, a nursing home in Barrigada Heights built in 1987, with 49 independent rooms.