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As LeadingAge completed its 1-year convenorship of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), we were honored to have U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan address our meeting.Sec. Donovan headed up the HUD multifamily program during the Clinton administration, and he clearly understands and admires HUD’s senior housing programs. He also understands the very important intersections between housing and health care that are the cornerstone of our housing with services initiative.
The secretary mentioned our ongoing work merging HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data to better understand who lives in affordable senior housing and what needs they have.
"By designing a demonstration that connects HUD housing data with health care data compiled by HHS, we can begin to get an unprecedented picture of seniors living in affordable housing -- from who they are and the scope of their health care needs, to the most cost-effective ways we can provide the services they need," Sec. Donovan said. "We’re proud that Leading Age is one of our core partners for this effort."
The secretary also referenced our Center for Applied Research's MacArthur Foundation grant to conduct the first national effort to assess whether affordable housing settings can serve as effective platforms for meeting the health and long-term care needs of low-income older residents while helping to reduce care costs.
With the grant, the center will study the role that publicly assisted service-enriched housing for older adults can play in helping residents “age in place.” Coupled with another ongoing center study, the MacArthur grant will help researchers build the first national dataset on the health and functional characteristics of older people living in publicly assisted housing with different levels of service enrichment.
What interested me also is that Donovan asked for our help with Congress to advocate for expansion of funding for 202 construction and service coordination.
"Today, Section 202 serves 130,000 older Americans -- and even in this tough budget environment, we’ve requested nearly half a billion dollars for this critical program, including $90 million for service coordinators who will link residents with the supportive services they need," said Donovan. "And with this proposal, HUD will be able to more effectively leverage private and local dollars to create far more units for older Americans than we otherwise would be able to in this fiscal environment -- up to 3,400 new affordable, accessible homes this year alone." Sec. Donovan said his single biggest concern about the U.S. Senate FY 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill is that there is no new funding for Section 202.
He asked for all of LCAO to advocate for this essential program.