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Officials must keep working for our aging population

For the first time in nearly 200 years, our community will have more residents over the age of 65 than under the age of 18, if Flite Friemann’s 2020 Census projections are correct. Approximately 30 percent of those over age 65 and over are classified as low-income, according to Washington County Job and Family Services.

Affordable housing is a problem for those of all age levels, in Washington County, but for those living on a fixed income — and perhaps with changed ability levels, it can be a challenge that drastically affects health and quality of life. A proposal by JFS and the Buckeye Hills Regional Council could make a difference, but only if it gets the necessary funding.

This week, JFS Director Friemann intends again to apply for a grant from the Ohio Housing Authority, to fund the 60-70 unit project. A similar application has been rejected before, and Friemann and Rick Hindman, assistant executive director at Buckeye Hills, have tried to correct what was displeasing to the state.

If funding is acquired, the project could be the start of important changes for our aging community — perhaps even sparking more such developments.

If the application is rejected, however, a 55-year lease the Buckeye Hills Support Services signed with the Washington County Commission becomes null and void. According to Commissioner David White, if private financing hasn’t been obtained by September, the project won’t happen. Officials must not take anything for granted, nor can they afford to give up.

Our older residents deserve to know local officials are doing their best to provide the kind of progress that serves the changing needs of our community.

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