Aging Services 2019 Funding Set for Now

Legislation | October 02, 2018 | by Barbara Gay

Congress marked the beginning of fiscal year 2019 on October 1 by passing H.R. 6157, legislation to fund the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. This measure, which covers many home- and community-based services programs, was the first Labor-Health and Human Services appropriation to be enacted in over a decade.

The appropriations measure, now law, increases funding for congregate and home-delivered meals under the Older Americans Act. Both programs would see their funding increase by $5 million each over the the $490 million congregate meal programs received for 2018 and the $246 million that went to home-delivered meals. 

Community Services Block Grants will get $10 million more than the $715 million they had for 2018.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance is funded at $3.69 billion, a $50 million increase over the 2018 level.

All other home- and community-based services programs would be funded at the same level as in 2018. This level funding is itself a victory, since cuts and zeroing out had been proposed for these programs.

Fortunately, this spending bill contained provisions to continue funding federal programs whose appropriations were not finalized before the beginning of the new fiscal year. The continuing resolution is good through December 7.

Programs whose funding is not yet finalized include senior housing programs under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD appropriations were incorporated into H.R. 6147, legislation funding several other agencies. Differences between the House and Senate on the combined spending measure that included HUD had not been resolved before fiscal year 2019 began on October 1. 

We have advocated all year to build on the funding increases achieved for senior housing in 2018, including the first money for new construction that has been made available in many years. We made substantial progress in the 2019 HUD spending bill, especially as passed by the Senate. In the lame duck session scheduled to follow the midterm elections in November, we will continue to urge Congress to enact H.R. 6147 with the maximum possible funding for senior housing programs.