February 27, 2004
HUD LAUNCHES ASSISTED-LIVING INFORMATION CENTER
Website and Call-Center Aims to Help Seniors Age-in-Place
TAMPA - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Michael Liu joined Mayor Pam Iorio to launch a national website and toll-free call center at Palm Terrace, a public housing assisted-living facility owned by the Tampa Housing Authority.
The Senior Housing Information Center website and toll-free call-center (888-245-8938) will give more than 3,700 public housing authorities (PHAs), including Indian housing authorities, the tools needed to modernize and create more senior public housing options. To meet elderly needs, federally assisted housing can be enriched with services - such as meals, healthcare providers and transportation.
"Our senior citizens should not be prematurely institutionalized because of
a lack of services in their current residences," said Liu. "The website and
call-center will show housing authorities how they can create facilities to
allow their elderly residents to age-in-place.
Also attending the national launching was President/CEO of the Tampa Housing Authority Jerome Ryans and Susan Tucker, Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
The innovative website houses information for using existing financial tools to create or modernize housing for seniors. For example the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Program includes the Resident Service Delivery Models for the Elderly. This funding is used to hire staff to provide elderly supportive services such as: personal assistance with daily activities; transportation residents to medical appointments and shopping; preparation of nutritional meals; creating wellness programs; and referrals to community resources. ROSS funds are also used to make physical improvements to existing facilities to accommodate senior supportive services.
Also included on the website is information on how other HUD programs - Housing Choice Vouchers, HOPE VI and Capital/Operating Funds - can be utilized to add supportive services to make existing developments suitable for seniors.
The website also provides links to other on-line resources. For example there are links to Medicaid and other federal agencies, as well as research materials, senior housing data and publications. There is also a list of innovative elderly public housing facilities in different regions that PHAs can use to get ideas for creating their own facilities.
The call-center will be available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Representatives will refer callers to experts in the field. The general public can also get information about service-enriched public housing.
For the past two years, HUD has worked with elderly housing experts to ensure the website has the most up-to-date information on this topic. Through its research, HUD and the elderly public housing industry discovered the cost savings of subsidizing senior housing residents in-place ranges from 20 to 65 percent less than moving them to institutional facilities. This is a tremendous savings to state Medicaid budgets across the nation.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.