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Age-Friendly Housing Contest

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The desire to live safely and comfortably in our own homes and communities as we grow older is nearly universal, but making it happen is not always easy.

To identify successful age-friendly housing innovations from around the world, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) and the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) launched the Innovation@Home contest

Many thanks to the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) for their important contribution in the creation and administration of the contest and to the Robert Wood Johnson for their funding support.  

Contest winners were announced in October 2018 - please find program names and detail on the list below.

Download our press release about the contest winners here (October 29, 2018).

Download a one-page overview of the program in English or in French

The contest received an exciting variety of entries from 15 countries, posing a challenge to our panel of distinguished judges. In the end, they chose three winners and one honorable mention (details below). 















Meet the Innovation@Home Winners 


  • Aconchego Program (Porto, Portugal) The Aconchego Program (Programa Aconchego) matches older people (age 60 and older) who have extra room in their homes with students (ages 18 to 35) who need a place to live. Lead Organizations: Porto City Hall and the Academic Federation of Porto. Learn more at bit.ly/AF_Portugal.
  • No-Cost Building Permits (Sausalito, California, USA) To help older residents avoid injuries caused by falls, Age Friendly Sausalito worked with the city’s Community Development department on their Age-Friendly Home Adaptation Grant Program to allow people to obtain free or reduced-cost building permits for projects that improve home safety and accessibility. Sausalito also advocated for a recently passed law that authorizes all California cities and counties to waive building permit fees for this purpose. Lead Organization: Age Friendly Sausalito. Learn more at bit.ly/AF_Sausalito.
  • Home Refurbishment Program (Barcelona, Spain) Throughout the Barcelona region (except the city itself), the Home Refurbishment Program (Programa d'Arranjament d'Habitatges de la demarcació de Barcelona) provides non-structural home repairs in the homes of the most vulnerable older people. The project also improves home energy efficiency and provides technology such as assistive devices. Lead Organization: La Diputació de Barcelona. Learn more at bit.ly/AF_Barcelona.
  • Honorable Mention: CHORE Volunteer Handyman Service (Bergen County, New Jersey, USA), which helps older residents and people with disabilities live safely in their homes by performing minor home repairs. All CHORE volunteers are retirees. Lead Organization: Bergen Volunteers. For more information: bit.ly/AF_BergenNJ.

What is age-friendly housing? 

Age-friendly housing initiatives can take many forms: expanding the amount and variety of housing options; making housing more affordable; removing barriers to innovation, in areas such as zoning, building codes, and planning; helping with home modifications; using assistive technology to improve safety and promote inclusion; involving multiple generations in co-housing; co-locating services, such as health care; and facilitating access to transportation, shopping, and health services, just to name a few.

Thanks to our judges!

A panel of distinguished judges selected three winners and one honorable mention. The judges were: Nathalie Röbbel, Technical Officer, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization (WHO); Stephanie Firestone, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor for Health and Age-friendly Communities, AARP International; Vivian Vasallo, Partnerships and Innovation Director, Fannie Mae; Ian Spero, Founder and CEO, Creative Skills for Life; Founder, Agile Ageing Alliance; and Betty Lynch, Community Champion, Avondale, Arizona.

Coming up

Grantmakers In Aging is also working on a funding guide to introduce foundations, elected officials, health care leaders, social services or aging services providers, real estate developers, technologists, and communities to the principles and emerging and existing best practices. 


Help us pursue our mission and strengthen grantmaking to support the needs and potential of older people.