New senior center already at max capacity
Less than five months after its grand opening, the Tahoe Senior Plaza is full for seniors who would like to become tenants.
“We average about three calls per week about senior housing,” said Paula Lanbdin, El Dorado County Community Services coordinator. “They aren’t even taking applications right now – the waiting list is closed.”
The Tahoe Senior Plaza is subsidized by the the United States Housing and Urban Development and charges rent on an income basis. Tenants, who pay 30 percent of their income as rent for the one-bedroom apartments, must be 62 years or older and earn less than $18,000 per year.
The Senior Plaza is the first of its kind at South Lake Tahoe – and apparently not big enough for the number of people who would like to move into the 45-unit complex on 3rd Street.
Lanbdin said there is no date in sight for when the Senior Plaza will begin accepting applications for seniors in the future.
Seniors looking for other ways to get into subsidized housing won’t find help under Section Eight either.
Section Eight, a program that pays a portion of rent to families based on income and family size, is also full with a closed waiting list, Lanbdin said.
“The waiting list won’t open up again until we’re able to assist some of the people (on the current lists),” she said. “There’s definitely a need for more affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe.”
Teri Boldt, of El Dorado County Adult Protective Services, agrees.
“Seniors are the fastest growing population in the county,” she said. “Especially in the ages of 85 and older.”
According to a 1999 study by the El Dorado County Public Health Department, the population of seniors over the age of 65 has more than doubled in El Dorado County in the last 20 years. Projections for seniors 65 and older show a steady increase while numbers for the 85 and older population are expected to increase at a much faster rate in the upcoming years.
Despite the growing population of seniors and the lack of affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe, Boldt said reported cases of homeless elderly people is almost nonexistent.
“We haven’t had many (reported) cases in the past,” she said. “And I don’t know of any cases of (homeless seniors) right now.”
She said the Adult Protective Services and state agencies define senior at the age of 65 or older.
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