LeadingAge Calls on State and Local Government to Prioritize Older Americans in Distribution of New Federal Pandemic Relief Funds
PRESS RELEASE | May 12, 2021 | by Lisa Sanders
“When we focus attention on those hardest hit by the pandemic, we can save lives and protect older Americans.”
Contact: Lisa Sanders
May 12, 2021, Washington, DC—On May 10, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the creation of a $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program funded by American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The plan permits state and local governments to distribute relief funding and extend support for sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The availability of American Rescue Plan relief funds gives state and local governments an important opportunity to help older Americans who are hardest hit by COVID, by helping care providers reach them wherever they call home and providing much needed support to increase the supply of affordable housing,” said Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services. “The prioritization of older populations for vaccination proved that when we focus attention on those hardest hit by the pandemic, we can save lives and protect older Americans.”
“I hope every state, county and municipal government with access to these funds will consider how they can be used to help struggling care providers bounce back from the unprecedented costs of COVID and stave off the threat of foreclosure. Aging services and the older adults they care for have been hit harder than many other sectors. Local officials should direct funds commensurate with the impact on aging services.”
These funds can be used for multiple purposes across aging services, which serves and employs populations disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Needs include:
- Premium pay for eligible essential workers, including home and community-based care and long-term care workers.
- Coverage of COVID-19 expenses for providers of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities and other settings.
- Employee payroll, benefits and retention costs; operating expenses such as upgrading air filtration systems or enhancing public health data systems.
- Mitigation of financial hardships caused by declines in revenues or periods of closure.
Because this is the most important moment in a generation to renew and revitalize the infrastructure necessary to support older Americans and their families, LeadingAge also recently released a Blueprint for a Better Aging Infrastructure that includes recommendations to help hard-hit providers rebound from the massive financial costs of the pandemic, while investing in the housing and services that are vital to support a growing older population.
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.