College students living in retirement homes? Bill in Washington legislature would explore it

College student holds books.

OLYMPIA, Wash – It wouldn’t be quite as raucous as many college dorms, but there would be plenty of company. A bill introduced in the Washington legislature would explore the idea of allowing college students to live in retirement facilities.

Senate bill 6560 is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday afternoon.

It wouldn’t allow the practice right away, but would instead authorize the state to explore the idea.

Language in the bill talks about ending the cycle of homelessness and increasing access to housing. It also cites social isolation and loneliness felt by many older adults.

“…In order to properly help some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, creative and unique situations must be studied,” the bill says.

The bill directs the state to create a pilot program that would consider legal barriers and liabilities; requirements for postsecondary housing; and regional housing needs of college students. It directs a working group to also examine the placement options at retirement facilities close to colleges and universities.

If passed, the group would need to have their recommendations to appropriate committees by December 1, 2020.

While it might seem like an unusual idea, it’s already being done in other places.

The New York Times reported last fall that it’s in place at the Purchase College campus in New York. Arizona State University is working on a similar program, scheduled to open this spring. reports that it’s also happening with students at the Cleveland Institute of Music, with students getting free room and board in exchange for musical performances and help with errands.