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Health and Housing Must-Reads, December 11

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched the Senior Health and Housing Task Force earlier this year. We are sharing some recently released publications, speeches, and testimony we consider relevant to our work. The views expressed in these pieces do not necessarily represent the views of the task force, its co-chairs, members, advisors or BPC.

Compiled by Anand Parekh, MDNikki Rudnick and Jake Varn

Health and Housing Expert Forum: Falls Prevention
By Dorothy Baker, Emily Blumenthal, Erika Poethig, Stuart Butler, Kathleen Cameron, Loren Colman, Ryan Frederick, Bill Kelly, Robyn Stone, and Fernando Torres-Gil, Bipartisan Policy Center

“This month’s topic focuses on falls prevention. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Americans. It is estimated that one in three adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Consequently, 2.5 million older people a year are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries and over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture. Fortunately, most falls can be prevented through a variety of evidence-based interventions. Below we ask a range of experts about how to significantly reduce falls among older adults in this country.” Read the forum.

Senior Housing Plus Services: What’s the Value?
LeadingAge: Center for Housing Plus Services

“The availability of an onsite service coordinator at federally subsidized senior housing properties reduced hospital admissions among residents by 18%.

“This is a key finding from a newly released study conducted by the LeadingAge Center for Housing Plus Services in partnership with The Lewin Group. The project was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.” Read the study.

As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides
By John Markoff, The New York Times

“The ranks of older and frail adults are growing rapidly in the developed world, raising alarms about how society is going to help them take care of themselves in their own homes.

“The University of Illinois roboticist recently received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the idea of designing small autonomous drones to perform simple household chores, like retrieving a bottle of medicine from another room. Dr. Hovakimyan acknowledged that the idea might seem off-putting to many, but she believes that drones will not only be safe, but will become an everyday fixture in elder care within a decade or two.” Read the article.

‘Housing First’ making changes for Camden County homeless
By Allison Steele, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Announced by county leaders in February, the pilot program is paid for by state, county, and local health-care providers. The first phase has provided housing to 50 people in Camden County identified as chronically homeless or high-cost health care users. The program also provides services like medical care, drug treatment, and job training. Unlike many shelters, which require individuals to be drug-free to secure a bed, the model provides shelter first, then treats the client in longer-term settings.

“Jeffrey C. Brenner, director of Cooper University’s Institute of Urban Health and founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, said that moving people into apartments reduces unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits and arrests, and costs thousands less per person each year than housing them in shelters. Brenner cites data from Housing First programs across the country in cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, which he says have proved to be cost-effective and successful in reducing homelessness.” Read the article.

Housing program is innovative, saves money, but advocates voice concerns
By Emilie Eaton, The Cincinnati Enquirer

“A demonstrative housing program created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could be coming to Cincinnati.

“The program, called Moving to Work, gives governmental housing organizations like the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) more leniency in how they use federal dollars. In turn, those authorities can test innovative, locally designed programs that can reduce program costs and give incentives to families to seek or prepare for work.

“CMHA Executive Director Gregory D. Johnson said the housing authority has considered becoming a Moving to Work agency for over 10 years. Now, that could become a reality if Congress passes an appropriations bill that expands the program nationwide.” Read the article.

What We Can Learn About Aging From Little Singapore
By Paul Irving, The Huffington Post

“When it achieved independence 50 years ago, Singapore was an unexceptional place, other than for its challenges. With few natural resources, weak infrastructure and year-round tropical heat, there was little reason to believe in the prospects for the small Asian city-state. So Singapore focused on its people. New ideas, ambitious leadership and forward thinking investment led to rapid advances in economic development, education and public health. It was hard to ignore Singapore’s example and emergence as one of the most successful economies in the world.

“Now Singapore is at it again, setting a new standard for human capital leadership through an ambitious “Action Plan for Successful Aging” to help Singaporeans age confidently and actively.” Read the article.

America’s Rental Housing: Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard

“Rental housing is home to a growing share of the nation’s increasingly diverse households. But even with the strong rebound in multifamily construction, tight rental markets make it difficult for low- and moderate-income renters to find housing they can afford. As a result, the number of cost-burdened renters set another record last year. Addressing the challenge of affordability in a time of rising overall demand will require greater efforts from both the public and private sectors to expand the range of rental housing options.” Read the report.

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