AARP Middle Housing Best Practices Guides

At a Glance



AARP National

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Missing middle housing

As part of its commitment to support livable communities that meet the housing needs of all households, AARP has been working to remove barriers to housing options, including Accessory Dwelling Units and Middle Housing, in communities across the country. As a complement to local educational and technical assistance engagements on these topics, AARP sought expert assistance from ECOnorthwest to develop a Model Act and guide to statewide legislation to re-legalize middle housing. This guide provides a range of options, example language, and pointers to appropriately customize requirements to state context, to support advocates, legislators, and others in identifying the best approach to expanding middle housing options. The Re-Legalizing Middle Housing: A Model Act and Guide to Statewide Legislation report is available below (copyright 2022-2023 by AARP).

As a follow-on to the state Model Act, ECOnorthwest is currently working with AARP to develop a best practices guide for local initiatives to enable middle housing, including case studies from across the country and guidance on setting appropriate standards. Given AARP’s broad reach, these resources can guide policy decisions and promote the development of middle housing across the country.

AARP Livable Communities Technical Advisors Program

An ECOnorthwest-led team, supported by Accessory Dwelling Strategies, Jet Planning, and Orange Splot Development, has been advising various state AARP offices across the nation since 2021 on diverse housing and equity challenges, especially those impacting older adults. Our team has provided technical assistance through the AARP LC-TAP program to over 30 state and local AARP offices to support housing outcomes for older adults. The purpose of this work is to provide support on an array of housing policy, planning, and program; community resiliency; and economic development planning and policy challenges. We often provide guidance in how to enable the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), support expanded middle housing options, and create more affordable housing and age-friendly housing promoting equitable outcomes. Our team has delivered code audits and case study and best practice policy research, interactive webinars, data analysis findings highlighting community and housing market trends, and other support tailored to each community’s request. Each year brings new challenges and new opportunities to broaden what we offer to meaningfully support communities. Example efforts:

  • Held a middle housing workshop in partnership with Burlington, Vermont sharing context specific analysis about middle housing demand, affordability and development feasibility, and supportive policies.
  • Summarized the recent shifts in household needs and provided strategy recommendations, particularly to promote housing equity for South Portland, Maine.
  • Provided anti-displacement policy research and case study findings associated with the addition of new bus rapid transit infrastructure for Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Helped Florida and Maine develop a new community survey useful for garnering input from the community on housing needs, challenges, and opportunities.
  • For Detroit, Michigan, we highlighted analysis findings describing the rapidly expanding low-income Senior population and their housing needs via a factsheet.
  • Webinars were held for Charlottesville, Virginia and North Dakota to discuss the role and importance of middle housing and ADU development and how to alleviate barriers.
  • ADU advocacy state reports were provided to Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Missouri to highlight common regulatory barriers and financing strategies.

Learn more at: 

Re-Legalizing Middle Housing Report: 

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AARP Middle Housing Best Practices Guides