Volume 5 | February 2020
LeadingAge Ohio is excited to share with you our legislative newsletter - The Aging Advocate . This monthly publication is designed to communicate what's going on in the world of aging and give you a peek at LeadingAge Ohio's 400+ members around the state. 
What's Inside?

  • LeadingAge Ohio and Miami University Talk Aging with House Committee 
  • LeadingAge Ohio Members Awarded New Affordable Senior Housing Funding
  • Ohio Seniors Feeling the Affordable Housing Squeeze
  • Rental Market Presents Severe Affordability Challenges for Seniors (LeadingAge)
  • New Chair Tim Ginter Energizes House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee
  • And more!
Aging Happenings
LeadingAge Ohio and Miami University Talk Aging with House Committee
On Thursday, January 30, LeadingAge Ohio was invited by Chairman Tim Ginter (R-Salem) to testify in front of the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee to provide committee members with a "state of aging" update, as well as some potential public policy solutions to the challenges Ohio faces, including workforce solutions. LeadingAge Ohio President & CEO Kathryn Brod and Director of Government Relations & Public Affairs Susan Wallace were joined by Dr. Bob Applebaum, Director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Scripps Gerontology Center and Professor of Sociology & Gerontology at Miami University. 

Applebaum and LeadingAge Ohio gave an in-depth look at aging in Ohio, sharing research on the state of Ohio’s aging population and discussing the challenges associated with current payment models and the aging services/ post-acute care workforce. A detailed write-up of the hearing, as well as the full presentations from Applebaum and LeadingAge Ohio and the full recording of the hearing, is available here.

LeadingAge Ohio hopes the interest and questions of the committee members represent the beginning of some legislative fixes to the challenges of older adults and long-term care providers.

Dr. Bob Applebaum (Miami University)
Kathryn Brod (right) and Susan Wallace (left) from LeadingAge Ohio
LeadingAge Ohio Members Awarded New Affordable Senior Housing Funding
Following years of advocacy efforts at the national level to renew funding for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, LeadingAge and LeadingAge Ohio are pleased to  share exciting news from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) For the first time in nearly a decade, HUD is awarding money to providers of 202 Housing for the Elderly Homes, with a new investment of $51 million. Of the 18 recipients nationwide, three are projects operated by LeadingAge Ohio members.

Recipients from LeadingAge Ohio include Columbus-based  National Church Residences  and  The McGregor Foundation  in East Cleveland. National Church Residences, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing and services, will receive $4,971,176 to build 76 new homes for seniors, while The McGregor Foundation, which supports  The McGregor Home’s   mission of supporting seniors in need and those who serve them, will receive $3,461,280 to build 80 new homes for seniors. National Church Residences was also awarded funding for a senior housing development in Georgia.

The good news for these LeadingAge Ohio members was covered in a recent issue of The Source, LeadingAge Ohio's weekly member newsletter.
Ohio Seniors Feeling the Affordable Housing Squeeze
In recent years, the need for affordable housing for older adults has exploded, with seniors representing 66% of the recent increase in “worst case housing needs” households. Homelessness among older adults is also on the rise. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs like the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly are critical to providing seniors affordable housing.

Many elders reliant on Social Security are forced to seek low-income senior housing. There are many different options for affordable senior housing in Ohio, including: the Housing Assistance Grant Program (HAGP); programs offered through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), like the Housing Development Assistance Program; and the Ohio Housing Trust fund. Still, only 34% of very low-income seniors receive the housing assistance they are eligible for because the programs are small compared to real need.

Rental Market Presents Severe Affordability Challenges for Seniors
A new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, America's Rental Housing 2020, details the current rental market and its severe affordability challenges. Linda Couch from LeadingAge provided an overview of the report earlier this month.

"Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the US remain extremely tight," states the Harvard report. "Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes."

Read on to learn more about this housing trend. 
New Chair Tim Ginter Energizes House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee
State Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) was appointed in October of 2019 to Chair the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee by Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford). So far, it looks like Speaker Householder found the right man for the job.

"Today, our state has 2.5 million residents over the age of 60, and our 60-plus population is growing more than 20 times faster than our overall population," stated Chairman Ginter in an October release. "Our objective is to do our best to meet the current needs of this population and also prepare for the challenges we will face in the near future.”

Recent meetings with the new Chair have been solutions-focused, with Ginter appearing to have the focus, commitment, and respect of his peers needed to make real progress.

"As LeadingAge Ohio continues to advocate for increased supports for long-term care and home- and community-based service options for older adults, it has been refreshing to work with a Chair who is focused on finding real, timely fixes to these important issues," said LeadingAge Ohio President & CEO Kathryn Brod. "Our association looks forward to making strides with our allies in the Ohio House, Senate, and the Administration."
About LeadingAge Ohio
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit trade association that represents over 400 long-term care organizations and hospices, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services, in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities. The continuum of care reflected by the member organizations serve an estimated 400,000 elderly Ohioans daily and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide.

Want to meet with LeadingAge Ohio? Share a story? Visit a provider in your community?