HUD, HHS and LeadingAge Partner to Bring Free COVID-19 Test Kits to Nearly Half a Million Residents of Affordable Senior Housing
Contact: Lisa Sanders
December 22, 2022 Washington, DC — Taking action as the prospect of a winter tripledemic looms, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including affordable senior housing, announces its partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in the launch of a resource to protect vulnerable older adults against COVID-19 and promote community health and well-being.
Through a new federal Health Partner Ordering Portal (HPOP) created by HUD and HHS, the nearly half a million older adults living in Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly communities nationwide will be able to access COVID-19 test kits free of charge. LeadingAge’s nonprofit, mission-driven members, and all Section 202 providers, will be able to order test kits in bulk for distribution to residents.
“Regular testing is an important component to remaining free of illness. The COVID testing portal is a vital resource that will help to alleviate residents’ challenges with test access and payment, and also protect them and their communities against serious illness and viral spread this winter,” says Dr. Thomas Tsai, Testing and Treatment Coordinator on the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team. “We are proud to be able to rally the joint expertise of LeadingAge, HUD, and HHS to achieve a shared goal: ensuring older Americans’ health and safety – particularly at-risk populations.”
The federal COVID-19 Test Kit Portal developed through LeadingAge’s long standing engagement and advocacy work with both HUD and HHS on behalf of its nonprofit, mission-driven members. When, several months ago, the White House engaged LeadingAge for consultation about COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, the association’s team shared insights into COVID-19 test kit need in a variety of communities and care settings serving at-risk populations, based on LeadingAge’s member experiences.
“Our national team strives to support members’ efforts to serve residents – our work in this project is a perfect example. Bringing HUD and HHS together to solve a problem and better serve older adults is our members’ primary concern,” says Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “We are focused on what matters most and use our strong connections and relationships to fight for members and the people they serve.”
Verified Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly communities that have completed HPOP registration will be able to order free COVID-19 test kits on a weekly basis. Kits will be delivered within 7 to 10 calendar days of order transmission.
By providing ready access to tests, LeadingAge, HHS and HUD aim to decrease COVID-19 spread and improve residents’ ability to take immediate action if they do test positive.
“Providing free Covid tests to low income older adults is simply life saving. No longer will our residents have to make a choice at the drugstore between pain reliever and a Covid test,” says Courtney Nuzzo, LeadingAge Virginia board member and Executive Director of The Lewinsville Retirement Residence in Virginia, which serves nearly 200 older adult residents. “This opportunity from HUD, HHS, CDC, and LeadingAge helps us help them stay safe. We’re all in it together, no matter the aging services setting. We all need this, and LeadingAge helped us get this.”
The HPOP is the latest in a series of LeadingAge initiatives undertaken throughout the pandemic to support older adults living in affordable housing and the members who serve them, from advocating for affordable senior housing inclusion in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership to ensuring multifamily housing providers are included in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.About LeadingAge:
We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.
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