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What We're Reading in Health and Housing, July 2

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

Op-Eds & Reports

Home Can Be Where the Help Is
By Henry Cisneros and Vin Weber

“Access to affordable, stable housing is critical to good health, and evidence is emerging that such housing has the potential to produce savings for the health care system. According to a recent study conducted by the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research and RTI International, Vermont’s Support and Services at Home program – a state initiative that provides personalized, coordinated care to help seniors stay safely at home – is slowing the growth of annual total Medicare expenditures for program participants.” Read the full op-ed.

Aging in Place: Housing Authorities Confront the Nation’s Quiet Crisis Facing Seniors
By Council of Large Public Housing Authorities

“In a nation with a large and growing older population and a shortage of affordable, senior-friendly rental units, housing authorities are tackling what has been called a quiet crisis. As they work to help older Americans stay independent, housing authorities have used innovative approaches and partnerships. The pieces in this publication illustrate some of the strategies by housing authorities are using as they take on a daunting challenge.” Read the full report.

CMCS Informational Bulletin
By Vikki Wachino, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services

“This Bulletin underscores CMS’ commitment to help states expand home and community-based living opportunities consistent with the Affordable Care Act, the implementation of the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) settings final rule governing Medicaid’s 1915(c) HCBS Waiver program, 1915(i) HCBS State Plan Option, and 1915(k) Community First Choice State Plan Option, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. The information in this Bulletin is based on evidence from studies demonstrating that providing housing-related activities and services facilitates community integration and is cost effective. This Bulletin is also intended to help states design benefit programs that acknowledge the social determinants of health, and contribute to a holistic focus on improvement of individual health and wellness.” Read the full report.


Supreme Court upholds a key tool fighting discrimination in the housing market
By Emily Badger, The Washington Post

“In the 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that the 1968 Fair Housing Act prevents more than just intentional discrimination in the housing market. The court said the law can also prohibit seemingly race-neutral policies that have the effect of disproportionately harming minorities and other protected groups, even if there is no overt evidence of bias behind them.” Read the full article.

Our runaway spending on the elderly
By Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post

“A recent Congressional Budget Office report, ‘The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook,’ reminds us that the federal government is slowly becoming an agency for taking care of the elderly. Almost everything else is being crowded out. We ignored that during the Obama presidency, and now it seems that the fledgling presidential campaign may do likewise. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats plug fairer economic growth. Jeb Bush and other Republicans are more forthcoming (they talk about raising Social Security’s eligibility age) but concentrate their rhetoric on creating faster economic growth.” Read the full article.

The future of aging in place
By Michele Parente, San Diego Union-Tribune

“While attention on, and demand for, assisted-living facilities and alternative communal housing developments is expected to increase, the challenge for policymakers, planners and communities is how to respond to the reality that 90 percent of people want to ‘age in place.’” Read the full article.

Seniors’ Housing Needs are a Special Challenge
By Suzanne Travers, City Limits

“New York City’s senior population is growing bigger than ever, living longer than ever, and getting poorer – in recent years the rate of seniors in poverty has risen to nearly one in five. Over 1.4 million New Yorkers are currently age 60 and older; by 2030, that number will rise to over 1.8 million, making seniors twenty percent of city residents. This story is the second in a three-part City Limits series looking at the challenges facing aging New York, and how the city is trying to respond.” Read the full article.

NHC to Congress: Short-term housing cuts mean long-term consequences
By National Housing Conference, Real Estate Rama

“On June 23, the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations subcommittee reported out an FY 2016 THUD funding bill that demonstrates how budget caps are forcing short-term cuts with long-term consequences. While NHC understands the budget constraints facing the subcommittee, the cuts to vital housing investments in this bill are deep and damaging. We call on Congress to forge a bipartisan compromise on spending that would allow essential long-term investments in housing and many other areas of need.” Read the full article.

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