E-1: Senior Housing for the New Age: Considerations on Affordability, Aging, Marketability and Resiliency

HUD; HUD RSC – 1 Credit Hour | Wednesday, June 5th. 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Session Description:

In this session, panelists
from NJHMFA & DCA will be discussing the importance of developing more
age-friendly housing in light of the shortage of affordable housing options and
the growth of the older adult population. The shortage of affordable housing is
an issue for New Jerseyans of all ages, but is an especially pressing issue for
older adults who are less likely to be mobile and more likely to be living on
fixed incomes. These challenges are compounded by the fact that older adults
are becoming a larger share of the overall population. As of 2020, one in six
Americans were age 65 or above and almost one-third (27%) of those age 60 or
above lived alone. The intersection of these trends points to the need for new,
innovative, and senior-friendly housing solutions at the state and local level.
Panelists will discuss the critical role state and local actions play in making
communities more age-friendly and affordable.

Learning Objectives:

Identify challenges faced by older adults in accessing affordable and age-friendly housing options.

Analyze the intersection of demographic trends and State housing policies.

Evaluate the effectiveness of state and local actions in addressing the shortage of affordable and age-friendly housing for older adults.


Moderated by: Chaundi Randolph, Counsel, Nixon Peabody

Melanie Walter, Executive Director, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

Melanie R. Walter is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, a statewide and national leader in providing and advocating for affordable housing and homeownership. Before joining NJHMFA in January 2021, Walter served as Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Director of the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) and as Deputy Attorney General. She has been an advocate for governmental transformation and advancement, particularly in areas of government finance, collaborative outreach, and data driven programming. Ms. Walter, a New Jersey native, earned her Juris Doctor and her Masters of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary, and her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Mary Washington. She is a member of the New Jersey and Virginia bars.

Janel Winter, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Housing and Community Resources – Department of Community Affairs

Janel Winter is a passionate, mission-driven leader with more than 15 years of experience in the affordable housing, homelessness and community development fields. Her area of deepest expertise is the intersection of housing and services for Medicaid populations and other vulnerable people. Throughout her career she has served as a catalyst for change, at the systems level and within individual agencies, designing and developing large policy initiatives and also driving the changes needed to make implementation work. She thinks of her role as a translator – she listens to stakeholders from various backgrounds and helps them understand each other’s languages, whether they speak the language of bankers who might finance a supportive housing project or invest in community development initiatives, governmental staff who administer highly regulated programs, advocates seeking large-scale policy shifts, community providers trying to navigate systems, or people expressing their lived experiences of poverty and inequity.

Kia King, Chief Of Staff, Department of Community Affairs

Kia King, a proud New Jersey native, began her legal career clerking for the Honorable Lisa P. Thornton, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of the Monmouth Vicinage. She served as Assistant Counsel for the Monmouth County Division of Social Services handling family dissolution and public assistance cases and then as Special County Counsel for the County of Monmouth working on public procurement matters. Kia then worked for several years for the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller as their Chief Administrative Officer managing various administrative and human resources functions for the agency. Thereafter, Kia served as the EEO Officer/Ethics Liaison Officer for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, overseeing their Office of Diversity and Compliance. Kia joined the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in 2021 as the Director of Policy and External Affairs. Currently, Kia serves as Chief of Staff, working under DCA Acting Commissioner Jacquelyn A. Suárez to advance the mission and goals of the department. Kia is a graduate of Colgate University where she majored in Africana Studies and minored in Film and Media Studies. Kia received her Juris Doctor from William and Mary Law School.

Donna Spencer, Director of Multifamily/Supportive Housing and Lending, NJHMFA