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Health and Housing Must-Reads, February 26

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched the Senior Health and Housing Task Force in 2015. 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

Initial Recommendations to Improve the Financing of Long-Term Care
Long-Term Care Initiative, Bipartisan Policy Center

“Congress has sought to encourage individuals to purchase private long-term care insurance (LTCI) by providing tax benefits for those who purchase policies that meet certain standards. The rationale for expanding private LTCI is to improve financial security for older individuals and to reduce or delay future reliance on Medicaid for middle- to upper-income individuals. Despite those efforts, sales of private LTCI continue to fall, largely because premiums are unaffordable and the traditional product design has proved to be unsustainable for carriers.

“This report offers initial recommendations to help address the financing of LTSS. In late 2016 or early 2017, BPC will release additional recommendations for new approaches to finance LTSS and also to reform LTSS delivery and improve integration of care for persons with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations.” Read the summary. Read the report.

Comptroller Stringer Audit Reveals City Owns More Than 1,100 Vacant Lots That Could Be Used To Build Affordable Housing
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer

“With a housing affordability crisis that includes thousands of New Yorkers sleeping in shelters, an audit released by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer revealed that New York City owns over 1,100 vacant properties that could be used to site thousands of units of affordable housing.

“The Comptroller also issued a new report, Building an Affordable Future: The Promise of a New York City Land Bank, which outlines how the City could use a land bank to develop an estimated 57,000 units of permanently affordable housing units on these vacant lots, as well as on a smaller sub-set of privately-owned, tax-delinquent properties.” Read the audit. Read the report.

The Right Road For A Better Future Of Aging
By Paul Irving, The Huffington Post

“It’s become common knowledge that populations are rapidly aging across the world. Increasing longevity during the last century has contributed to unprecedented global economic growth–and new opportunities for personal fulfillment that previous generations could only dream of. A result of advances in medicine, sanitation, and safety, the longevity dividend may, in fact, be the most extraordinary accomplishment in human history.

“Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people age 60 years and over is projected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion, according to the World Health Organization. Over the same period, the number of people age 80 years and older will have almost quadrupled to 395 million, and adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 14.” Read the article.

How Investing in Housing Can Save on Health Care
By Lisa Stuartevant and Janet Viveiros, National Housing Conference

“Having access to safe, stable and affordable housing can lead to better physical and mental health and improve overall quality of life in a variety of ways. When families have access to affordable housing, they can spend more on food and health care, which can lead to better health outcomes. Housing in neighborhoods of opportunity can lead to less stress and social isolation and better physical health outcomes, including lower rates of obesity. A safe and secure place to live can help homeless individuals with chronic health conditions access medical care, maintain good health regimens, and experience better physical and mental health. Because of these links between housing and health, investment in housing and resident services can potentially result in a net public savings if spending on public health-related services is reduced.” Read the report.

An Investment in Opportunity: A Bold New Vision for Housing Policy in the U.S.
By John Griffith and Diane Yentel, Enterprise Community Partners

“This report lays out Enterprise’s long-term policy platform, which offers a set of federal, state and local policy changes to address America’s growing rental housing crisis and create communities of opportunity across the country. The platform includes 23 discrete policy recommendations built around four strategies for reform: (1) ensure broad access to high-opportunity neighborhoods; (2) promote comprehensive public and private investments in low-income neighborhoods; (3) recalibrate our priorities in housing policy and target scarce subsidy dollars where they’re needed most; and (4) improve the overall financial stability of low-income households.” Read the report.

HUD Announces Grants for Senior Housing Demonstration
By Donna Kimura, Affordable Housing Finance

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it is making approximately $15 million available to test a promising housing and services model for low-income seniors to age in their own homes and delay or avoid the need for nursing home care.

“HUD’s Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing will offer three-year grants to eligible owners of HUD-assisted senior housing developments to cover the cost of a full-time enhanced service coordinator and a part-time wellness nurse.” Read the article. Read HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability.

Meeting the Challenges of Aging in Public Housing
By Erica McFadden & Joanna Lucio, Governing

“Public-housing authorities across the country are wrestling with meeting the needs of frail seniors in need of supportive housing, where the services that elderly people need to age in place safely, independently and comfortably are readily available. The bad news is that the numbers in need of these services will only grow in coming years, as will the costs. The good news is that a potent, largely untapped resource is close at hand: the seniors themselves.

“The challenge is not a minor one. In 2014, Harvard’s Joint Center of Housing Studies released a report chronicling the continued shortage of affordable, accessible and supportive housing confronting the growing number of seniors in need. Adults 65 years and older are projected to represent over 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2040. By that time, long-term-care Medicaid costs for this population are expected to triple from $115 billion in 1997 to $346 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.” Read the article.

How the homeless population is changing: it’s older and sicker
By Margot Kushel, The Conversation

“On any given night in the United States, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million people are without a home. That number may have decreased nationwide in the past few years, but California remains on the forefront of the problem, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s homeless in 2014.

“With the winter’s freezing temperatures and El Niño’s massive rainstorms, what to do about the thousands living in our city streets has been making headlines on both the East and West coasts.

“What policymakers and the general public need to recognize is that the homeless are aging faster than the general population in the U.S. This shift in the demographics has major implications for how municipalities and health care providers deal with homeless populations.” Read the article.

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