On August 30, EHDOC’s Della Koester, Director of Quality Assurance and Rebecca Beene, Regional Service Coordinator, traveled to Washington, DC to discuss funding for the HUD Service Coordinator Program, to garner support for The Expanding Service Coordination Bill, and to invite government officials to visit EHDOC properties to see first-hand the wonderful work that Service Coordinators do.
As part of the American Association of Service Coordinator’s (AASC) National Conference, which was themed Advocacy in Action – United in Purpose, August 30 was AASC Advocacy Day. Della and Rebecca met with Joshua Dunn, Legislative Correspondent for Senator John Kennedy, and with Ron Anderson, Senior Policy Advisor for Senator Bill Cassidy.
Rebecca Beene, Della Koester with Joshua Dunn
The Expanding Service Coordination Act was introduced on August 9 to authorize additional funding and process enhancements for Service Coordination in federally assisted housing. Service Coordinators assist elderly and disabled residents and families living in affordable housing communities to identify, locate and acquire the social services and supports necessary to become and remain self-sufficient. Services may include connecting residents with meal services, medication management, transportation to appointments and much more.
According to an article in LeadingAge online, LeadingAge-Endorsed Bill Introduced to Expand Service Coordination by Juliana Bilowich, “Currently, fewer than half of properties in Section 202, HUD’s flagship senior housing program, have a Service Coordination program. Lack of funding and streamlined guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) create difficult barriers for housing providers who want to provide service coordination to residents.”
The American Association of Service Coordinators has asked all housing providers to endorse the bill. LeadingAge endorsed the bill along with American Association of Service Coordinators, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, King County Housing Authority, Seattle Housing
Authority, Tacoma Housing Authority, Public Housing Authority Directors Association, B’nai B’rith, Compass Housing Alliance, CSI Support & Development, Life Steps, Local Initiatives Support Coalition, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc., Wesley Housing Corp., Massachusetts Association of Resident Service Coordinators in Housing, Human Good, Sage Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders, United Church Homes, Volunteers of America National Services, MJ Housing Services, National Church Residences, National Centers for Assisted Living, New Hampshire Association of Professional Service Coordinators, Embrace Living Communities, Winn Companies, National Affordable Housing Managers Association, and USAging.
The bill supporting the Expanding Service Coordinators Act was introduced by Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash), Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore).
Specifically, the bill would:
- Authorize an additional $100 million each year for five years to the Multi-Family Housing Service Coordinator program.
- Authorize a total $45 million each year for five years for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency service coordinator program.
- Authorize a new $37 million grant program through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award 150 grants to eligible properties to fund service coordinators.
- Establish a training set aside to improve capacity and retention of service coordinators.
- Extend qualification for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to service coordinators.
- Direct GAO to report on the availability and work of service coordinators in rural areas.
Rebecca Beene, Ron Anderson, Della Koester