As House committees begin to reveal their proposals for inclusion in the $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, seniors’ residences remind lawmakers not to forget about the elderly and their caregivers.
LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan sent a message on Wednesday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) applauding the components of affordable housing in the House Financial Services Committee and House Ways and Means Committee invoices. The reconciliation measures, she said, “live up to the occasion and offer essential resources” to expand the supply of affordable housing connected to services for the elderly.
“Investments in these bills will allow generations of seniors to access affordable housing and have options about where to live as they age and their needs may change,” wrote Sloan.
Sloan also warned lawmakers not to cut funding commitments affecting older Americans and people with disabilities.
âIt’s not just numbers,â Sloan said. âThese are the real lives of seniors and families struggling to get them the care and services they need.â
The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living also called on Congress to prioritize older people and their caregivers in the infrastructure package.
“While nursing homes and assisted living communities will soon receive much needed resources from the Provider Relief Fund, longer term investments from the federal government are needed to help improve the quality of care,” said the AHCA / NCAL in a press release.
The Financial Services Committee’s bill provides $ 322 billion for new and existing federal housing programs to meet the country’s urgent housing needs. LeadingAge said the investment would produce and preserve 894,984 affordable housing units for low-income seniors and provide 37,500 new Section 202 supportive housing for retirement homes with an investment of more than $ 2.5 billion. of dollars. It would also provide new service coordinators, a new technical assistance center for states and resources for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to improve the administration of funds.
Sloan said there is an “urgent need” to expand the supply of affordable senior housing in the United States. Nationally, 4.9 million owner and renter households aged 65 and over spend more than half of their income on housing, she said.
The Ways and Means Committee bill would temporarily increase state allocations of low-income housing tax credits and address threats to non-profit home ownership of housing credit.
On Tuesday, the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed provisions to invest $ 190 billion in home and community services, down from the $ 400 billion originally planned in the U.S. plan for President Biden’s jobs.
While this amount would constitute a “historic investment” in Medicaid HCBS and provide opportunities to strengthen the workforce, LeadingAge said it continues to advocate for a number closer to that $ 400 billion.
“LeadingAge is pleased to see the continued survival of the proposal to inject billions of dollars into HCBS programs, largely aimed at improving workers’ wages,” wrote Andrea Price-Carter, Head of Congressional Affairs at LeadingAge. , in an article on LeadingAge website.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), chair of the Special Senate Committee on Aging, introduced the Better Care Better Jobs law in June, which would give states a 10% increase in federal Medicaid dollars for implementing improvements HCBS and strengthening Medicaid programs and supports for direct care workers.