In an effort to improve housing opportunities for older adults in Buncombe and surrounding counties this fall, AARP is partnering on a new initiative, “Housing Options for Aging in Place: Accessory Dwellings,” aimed at fulfilling vital components of the County’s Aging Plan through building new housing and remodeling existing homes to better accommodate the region’s growing population of older adults.

This fall’s initiative will bring awareness to the community of the importance of modifying existing housing and/or creating new housing to accommodate older adults.

AARP’s partners for the Accessory Dwelling initiative will include the Housing Options for Aging in Place (HOAP) working group, a coalition of organizations and individuals in the region. The project will engage city and county elected officials, agency staff, the for-profit and non-profit housing sector, and county residents of all ages.

The HOAP: Accessory Dwellings initiative will have several key activities:

  • A virtual tour of accessory dwellings in the community on Nov 10, 2020 from noon-1:30 PM.
  • On November 12, a series of educational and consulting sessions with Asheville and Buncombe County elected officials and agency staff
  • Consulting with households in the region who are contemplating an ADU opportunity.

What is an Accessory Dwelling?

Although many people have never heard the term, Accessory Dwellings or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) are timeless and may be associated with different names: granny flat, granny pod, secondary dwelling, or in-law apartment. An ADU is a small residence that shares a residential lot with a larger, primary dwelling. As an independent living space, it is self-contained, with its own kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. An ADU can be attached or separate from a primary residence, including basement apartments and garage conversions.

Since ADUs make use of the existing infrastructure and housing stock, they are also environmentally friendly and respectful of a neighborhood’s pace and style. Additional facts about ADUs:

  • An ADU can provide rental income to homeowners who rent out their ADU or move into their ADU and rent out their primary dwelling. This rental income can help homeowners cover mortgage payments, increased property taxes, or simply make ends meet. This can be especially useful for older people on fixed incomes.
  • An ADU can enable family members to live on the same property while having their own living spaces — or provide housing for a hired caregiver. In this way, ADUs can be an affordable and more comforting alternative to an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
  • For older adult homeowners looking to downsize, an ADU can be a more appealing option than moving into an apartment or an age-restricted community.

For more information on the HOAP: Accessory Dwellings initiative, go to

Any current ADU owner or resident interested in participating in a virtual tour and sharing their story, please contact Rebecca Chaplin,, or 828-380-6242

Also, local residents wishing to develop a free-standing ADU or convert an existing space into an ADU, please contact Richard Duncan,, or 919-608-1812.

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