What can we do to help older Americans who are struggling? The conversation has started—add your ideas on how we can improve programs and services around employment, nutrition, health, housing, and transportation for vulnerable seniors in your community.
For five months, One Away has focused on collecting the stories of vulnerable older adults struggling to make ends meet. As we’ve seen in recent conversations about budget cuts, the challenges of older adults in need can be the easiest to ignore because the people most hurt are also unable to make their voices heard. The One Away campaign is trying to change this.
After months of negotiations, Congress and President Obama have agreed on a package to increase the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the federal budget. What does the plan mean for seniors who are struggling to make ends meet? As with any compromise, there’s both good news and bad news.
A few months ago, I met a delightful couple named Bill and Sonia who recently celebrated more than 50 years of marriage. Sonia at 84 is a beautiful woman with a “dancer’s body” that she honed as a fabled Radio City Music Hall Rockette. 91-year-old Bill still has a robust physique earned from decades as a general contractor. But outward appearances can be deceiving. Bill and Sonia hadn’t had a real meal in two weeks, surviving on crackers and candy bars while sleeping in their car.
The One Away campaign isn’t the only one telling the real story of senior hunger. At a Congressional hearing last month, several witnesses told stories of older adults who are struggling to pay for food—and others who are benefiting from vital nutrition programs in their community. The focus of the hearing was Senior Hunger and the Older Americans Act.
Today's Twitter Town Hall was a little frustrating - not one peep about seniors!
But the good news is that you helped us raise awareness about economic insecurity among older adults by generating hundreds of tweets!
In a June 23 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, James Bovard suggested there is rampant fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps). NCOA’s Nora Dowd Eisenhower, Vice President of Benefits Access, responds to Bovard’s accusations by pointing to the real problem: seniors who need the benefit are not getting it.
The fiscal year 2011 federal budget dealt a severe blow to Americans who are struggling with housing issues. Congress completely eliminated funding for the federal Housing Counseling program through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Why does this matter to older Americans who are economically insecure? Because Congress also eliminated funding for HUD reverse mortgage counseling—a critical program that helps older homeowners find ways to stay in their own homes longer.
The Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program currently houses nearly 400,000 seniors throughout the country. Since 1959, Congress has funded the development of affordable apartment buildings for seniors, and these innovative communities have led the way in creating successful models of supportive, service-enriched, person-centered housing.
Yet after cutting this program's funding by 51% in their FY2011 budget, Congress is now considering whether to end the Section 202 development program while continuing to support those already residing in Section 202 housing.
This summer, Congress is under enormous pressure to find a way to reduce the federal deficit—and Medicaid has become a prime target for cuts. National advocacy groups are now coming together to protect this vital program for our most vulnerable citizens.