The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research has received a $698,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 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.
LeadingAge researchers will also assess whether linking services with congregate housing settings makes a difference in residents’ health service utilization patterns.
Implications for policy makers and providers
The study results will provide federal, state and local policy makers, housing providers and aging services agencies with a better understanding of whether to invest in publicly assisted service-enriched housing models and what to expect from that investment, according to Robyn Stone, Dr.P.H., executive director of the Center for Applied Research.
The data, case studies and benefit-cost analyses developed during the study could also offer providers of long-term services and supports helpful insight and guidance as they develop and implement effective housing-with-services programs and strategies, she says.
“The MacArthur grant opportunity comes at an extremely opportune time,” says Stone. “Over the next several years, policy makers will aggressively debate how to reconcile the economic, health and long-term care desires of an aging society with demands for deficit reduction and putting our fiscal house in order. A number of developments, including the need to implement the Affordable Care Act, will converge to create a more receptive policy audience than in the past.”
About the Center for Applied Research study
The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research has been studying housing-with-services models since 2006. In addition to the new MacArthur-supported research, the center is participating in an ongoing study, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to develop the first dataset ever to link demographic, health status and health service utilization data for elderly residents of publicly assisted housing.
The MacArthur-supported project will build on the HUD/HHS study and will include these activities:
- Surveying a sample of housing properties drawn from the HHS/HUD dataset to ascertain the range of services available at selected properties in 10 jurisdictions.
- Comparing the health care utilization of residents living in publicly assisted service-enriched housing with the health care utilization of older adults living in non-service-enriched housing and non-publicly assisted housing environments in the same community.
- Developing case studies of service-enriched housing properties.
- Conducting benefit-cost studies of the service programs offered by case study sites.
- Interviewing state and local officials responsible for developing policies that impact the provision of housing and services.
About the MacArthur Foundation Grant
The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research received its MacArthur grant through an annual funding competition conducted through the Foundation's $25 million research initiative on How Housing Matters to Families and Communities. The initiative is exploring if and how quality, stable, affordable housing promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical health, among other areas. It is specifically seeking to determine how investments in housing may help realize a greater return from other social and public investments. Other 2011 grantees were the University of Michigan, Syracuse University, Ohio State University and New York University.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is available at MacFound.org. Additional information about the How Housing Matters initiative can be found at MacFound.org/HousingMatters.