At the Leading Age Annual Conference held in October 2013, Nan Roman, a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, spoke on the Housing Commission’s recommendations to support federal policies to promote housing plus services for seniors. She indicated that the Housing Commission was established in 2011, as a bipartisan effort to develop a new vision for federal housing policy by drafting a package of realistic policy recommendations that respond to both the near-term and long-term challenges facing the nation’s housing needs. Former HUD Secretaries, Mel Martinez and Henry Cisneros, are two of the four co-chairs on the 21-member Bipartisan Housing Commission.
In its recent report, “Housing America’s Future: Nevv Directions for National Pohcy”, the Bipartisan Housing Commission, reported that “federal assistance programs currently help approximately five million low-income households afford housing. However, only about one in four renter households eligible for assistance actually receives it. Because demand so far outstrips supply, these scarce rental subsidies are often allocated through lengthy waiting lists and by lotteries.” The Bipartisan Housing Commission recognizes that “the aging of the population will necessitate major changes in the way we operate as a nation, to include the housing sector. While the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2010 and 2040, we are still largely unprepared to meet the needs of the overwhelming numbers of seniors who wish to “age in place” in their own homes and communities.”
Included among the four key frameworks for federal policy recommendations by the Housing Commission was for a more comprehensive focus on meeting the housing needs of our nation’s seniors that responds to their desire to age in place and recognizes the importance of integrating housing with health care and other services. I was particularly pleased that the Bipartisan Housing Commission recommended the need for better cooperation and coordination between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a key recommendation of the earlier Congressionally appointed Senior Housing and Health Care Commission that I was honored to be a member. The Bipartisan Housing Commission reinforces the earlier findings of the Senior Commission that housing plus services will impact future spending on health care and suggests to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that such savings be considered in allocating resources to housing in the future.
– Steve Protulis, Executive Director