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What We're Reading in Health and Housing, July 15

Welcome to What We’re Reading in Health and Housing. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched a Health and Housing Task Force earlier this year. We are sharing recent 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 Nikki Rudnick, Katie Golden and Jake Varn

The White House Conference on Aging
Office of the Press Secretary

“Today [July 13th], the President will host the White House Conference on Aging, which focuses on the issues facing Americans as they plan for retirement, care for older loved ones, and work to improve our quality of life as we age. One of the most critical components of middle-class life in this country is a secure and dignified retirement, and today the President announced new steps we’re taking to ensure that Americans have the tools they need to prepare for the future. These actions build on the President’s announcement earlier this year of the Department of Labor’s proposed rule requiring retirement advisers to put their clients’ best interest first, before their own profits.

Today’s announcements include:

  • Facilitating State Efforts to Provide Workplace-based Retirement Saving Opportunities: About a third of the workforce lacks access to a workplace retirement plan. That’s why, in every budget since taking office, the President has put forth proposals to provide access for 30 million Americans to workplace-based retirement savings by requiring employers not currently offering a retirement plan to automatically enroll their workers in an IRA. But in the absence of Congressional action, the states are leading the charge. Similar proposals have been passed by a few states and are under consideration in over 20 others. Other states are considering an approach that would encourage employers to create 401(k)-type plans. However, states remain concerned about a lack of clarity regarding preemption by a federal pension law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). By the end of the year, the U.S. Department of Labor will publish a proposed rule clarifying how states can move forward, including with respect to requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage.
  • Launching Today, the Administration launched to provide older Americans, their families, friends, and other caregivers, a one-stop resource for government-wide information on helping older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.
  • Modernizing Federal Rules that Affect Long-term Care, Healthy Aging and Elder Justice: Steps being announced today include: a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed rule to update, for the first time in nearly 25 years, the quality and safety requirements for more than 15,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities to improve quality of life, enhance person-centered care and services for residents in nursing homes, improve resident safety, and bring these regulatory requirements into closer alignment with current professional standards; a new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase accessibility to critical nutrition for homebound, older Americans and people with disabilities by enabling Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to be used for services that purchase and deliver food to these households; a final Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance rule from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to be released by the end of the year that will revise the current VOCA Victim Assistance Guidelines, clarify that VOCA Victim Assistance funds may be used to support legal services for crime victims, and emphasize the need to use VOCA funds to support social and legal services to underserved victims, including elder victims of abuse, financial exploitation, fraud, and neglect.; and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidance confirming that its Equal Access rule applies to all HUD-assisted and HUD-insured multifamily housing, including Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, and that such housing be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
  • Utilizing Technology to Support Older Americans: As part of the President’s commitment to making Federal government data open and more easily usable, today the Administration is announcing that by September 2015, Federal data sets relevant to aging and to elderly Americans will be made easily available on, the repository for the U.S. Government’s open data. This resource will continuously be updated with datasets on aging, much like it is for other important Administration priorities such as climate, public safety, and education.”

Read the press release. Read the President’s remarks.

New case studies show promising ways affordable housing can improve health and decrease health care costs
National Housing Center & Center for Housing Policy

“Better living environments promote better health, and partnerships between housing and health care practitioners could mean improved outcomes for low-income individuals and families. Three new case studies released today by the National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy highlight promising examples of how housing and health collaborations can improve the overall health and wellbeing of low-income individuals and families, while decreasing environmental hazards, emergency room visits, and overall health care costs.” Read the press release.

WATCH: What Really Makes Us Healthy? Health beyond Healthcare
San Francisco Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

“The top contributors to long-term health may be surprising to most. As it turns out, only a fraction of what affects our health is actually related to healthcare. To truly improve outcomes, we need to look beyond healthcare at a variety of factors that impact health. This video explores those factors and details the role community development can play in improving health outcomes.” Watch the video.

Three GSE risk-sharing innovations that could change housing finance reform
Laurie Goodman and Karan Kaul, Urban Institute

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have guaranteed at least half of all new mortgage originations for the past eight years. The two government sponsored entities’ (GSEs) critical role in the US mortgage market is indisputable, but so too is their risk to taxpayers.

“For the last three years, the GSEs’ conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), has required both entities to transfer an increasing amount of mortgage credit risk to private investors. These efforts to reduce taxpayer risk have been very successful, but three innovations in the past 14 months have been extremely effective, suggesting an even larger role for these deals in the coming years.” Read the article.

A New Twist On Planned Senior Communities
Beth Baker, Forbes

“Across the country, developers are re-imagining community life, creating holistic settings that will appeal to older people.

‘Traditional senior housing focuses more on immediate health care needs and fear of loss,” says Ryan Frederick, founder and CEO of Smart Living 360. ‘We’re focusing on asking people, ‘What do you want this next chapter to look like?’

“Many bank on boomers’ ongoing interest in wellness, remaining active and staying connected across generations.” Read the article.

Urban Real Estate Investment: A New Era of Opportunity
Henry Cisneros, Urban Land Institute

“In a new book published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), former U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Henry Cisneros identifies potential for real estate investment in 45 metropolitan areas that exist on a spectrum of strong, weak, and mixed prospects for economic growth.

In Urban Real Estate Investment: A New Era of Opportunity, Cisneros offers an innovative and nuanced analysis of major U.S. cities by merging pre-existing data sets: quantitative performance indicators measuring economic output and demographic trends and a qualitative, city-by-city ranking based on surveys and interviews with real estate developers and investors. Developed by an independent research firm, the quantitative indicators include each city’s unemployment rate; changes in population; and job, income, and GDP growth.” Read the press release.

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