LeadingAge Calls on Congress to Pass "Real Relief" as House of Representatives Crucial Votes Begin

PRESS RELEASE | February 25, 2021 | by Lisa Sanders

Emphasizes Need to Help Affordable Housing Residents and Financially Struggling Providers

Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

February 25, 2021, Washington, DC—As COVID-19’s toll reached half a million Americans dead this week, a key aging services leader reminded Congress that real relief must focus on the dangers the pandemic continues to pose to older adults.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on relief legislation as soon as tomorrow, and the Senate could follow soon after.

“As the pandemic enters a new phase, the time is now for real relief for older Americans who have not been vaccinated, for 2.5 million people in HUD-assisted senior housing, and for aging services providers who’ve exhausted their savings keeping up with a year of COVID-19,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge.

“The House legislation includes many important provisions, but falls short on support for the millions of low-income older adults living in federally-assisted affordable housing. They’ve largely been forgotten,” added Sloan. “Relief must prioritize their needs, along with providers struggling with the financial consequences of the pandemic.”

“Congress must adopt legislation to provide more vaccines, regular and rapid testing, access to affordable and abundant PPE, additional staffing support and robust funding necessary to provide 24/7 health and long-term care to the most vulnerable Americans.”

LeadingAge has called for at least $120 billion in Provider Relief Fund assistance for care providers reeling from pandemic expenses, along with $1.2 billion to address the needs of older adults in HUD-assisted senior housing. The organization also supports legislation introduced by Bob Casey and four other senators to more than double House-proposed funding to help nursing homes.

A January 2021 survey of LeadingAge HUD-community providers revealed that despite the financial strain felt by most providers throughout the pandemic, the majority of respondents said they did not receive extra financial support to cover COVID-19 cost burdens for either unexpected expenses or revenue loss.
As part of its 100 Days of Advocacy campaign, LeadingAge recently sent a series of letters to key committee chairs and mobilized members around the country to urge Congress to adopt speedy and robust relief. LeadingAge’s requests (to House of Representatives Committees on Financial Services, Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, Education and Labor and Small Business) lay out older Americans’ needs in numerous areas.

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org