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New Bill Echoes BPC Recommendations on Federal Home Modification Programs

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center issued the following statement by Dr. Anand Parekh, BPC senior advisor, regarding the introduction of the Senior Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act of 2016. The legislation closely aligns with recommendations released in BPC’s recent Senior Health and Housing Task Force report, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, which was developed by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, former HUD Secretary and Senator Mel Martinez, and former Reps. Allyson Y. Schwartz and Vin Weber. The report offers policy options to better integrate the health care and housing needs of America’s seniors.

“BPC’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force commends Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) for their bipartisan collaboration and introduction of the Senior Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act of 2016. The bill creates a cross-cutting initiative by the HHS assistant secretary for aging to coordinate, review, and promote the numerous federal home modification programs and resources that are available to America’s senior population. This will contribute to a better understanding of the effectiveness of Federal programs at enabling older individuals to live more independently at home.

“This important legislation contains numerous provisions recommended by BPC that targets and coordinates federal resources that support home assessments, modifications, and repairs for older adults. Today, most Americans pay for home modifications out of their own pockets. With numerous federal programs and waivers supporting home modifications spread across multiple agencies, it’s almost impossible for families and individuals to figure out what resources are available.

“This bill also requires the assistant secretary for aging to publish and distribute an educational brochure highlighting the programs, home modifications, and repairs for use by seniors. By utilizing the Aging Network—a national network of federal, state, and local agencies that provides services to 11 million older adults annually—this legislation could help millions of seniors find the resources they need to age safely and comfortably in their own homes and communities and prevent debilitating health outcomes such as falls.

“BPC believes that greater integration of America’s housing and health care systems is essential to improving health outcomes, reducing costs and enhancing the quality of life for America’s aging population.”

Read Healthy Aging Begins at Home, its priority recommendations, and the infographic.

BPC Senior Advisor Dr. Anand Parekh, who leads the Senior Health and Housing Task Force, is available for comment.