Haverhill Council Candidate Golden Says Housing Cost Study Backs Need for Senior Relief

Haverhill City Council candidate Nicholas J. Golden. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill City Council candidate Nicholas J. Golden says a recent study of senior housing costs backs his call for relaxing property tax exemptions for residents over 65.

At his campaign kickoff last month, Golden said the City Council should vote to increase the senior property tax exemption from $500 to $1,000 and lower the eligibility to 65 years old. He said the “simple vote” would help low-income seniors be able to afford to stay in their homes. Citing a Wicked Local study, Golden said seniors are subject to steady and unaffordable rent increases and limited housing options.

“The people who have called Haverhill home for decades, who’ve been the fabric of our neighborhoods for all that time, deserve to be able to stay in the community they love,” Golden said. “Affordability isn’t just a Massachusetts issue—it’s an issue for Haverhill, too, and it impacts just about everyone. The housing plan the Council adopted last summer itself, in fact, calls for action to support affordability for the elderly in Haverhill.”

According to the candidate, Massachusetts is second in the country for the most seniors above the age of 65 “living in the gap”—that is, above the federal poverty level and below the true cost of living, according to the University of Massachusetts – Boston Gerontology Institute.

“The city council has worked hard for seniors and deserves credit for that. I hope they’ll take this up soon, as well,” Golden added.  State laws allow communities to alter the exemption up to $1,000, change the age of eligibility and cover more seniors by increasing asset and income limits for applicants, he said.

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