Commission delivered final report to Congress on June 28, 2002
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May 9, 2001
  Contact: Ken Trepeta (202) 708-4302 Ext. 106

"Former Congressman Rick Lazio addresses the Commission."


Washington, D.C. - The congressional Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century, a.k.a. Seniors Commission, held its first meeting the evening of April 29 and all-day April 30, 2001 to begin the task of developing recommendations to Congress for the future residential and service needs of our ever-growing aging population.

According to Commission Co-Chair and President of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly in Boston, Massachusetts, Ellen Feingold, "Ours was a very successful first meeting. I was pleased to see the high level of commitment from all the Commissioners. The Commissioners are an extremely accomplished and talented group of people whose dedication to this cause was clearly evident. Passion for what we are about came through in some very thoughtful discussion, and dialogue among Commissioners was super-charged with great expectations and high hopes."

The Commission was authorized during the 106th Congress. A principal author of the legislation establishing the Commission--former Congressman Rick Lazio--joined Commissioners during their evening meeting to outline the Commission's historical roots, and to offer suggestions as Commissioners pursue fulfilling their statutory mandate.

During the full-day meeting, Commissioners agreed to the broad guidelines and organizational parameters under which they will operate, including their operational timeframe, frequency of meetings, conducting field hearings, organizing into task forces, and preparing the report to Congress. Feingold said, "We also talked about some common themes, such as developing efficiencies in housing and health, providing subsidies for those who need them, and creating appropriate housing environments."

As Commission Co-Chair and Field Director for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging in Albany, New York, Nancy Hooks stated, "The Commission was not established to deliver foregone conclusions, so how we organize ourselves, and the process we define is critical to accomplishing our mission. We have been given a rare opportunity to be creative, to take apart existing political agendas, to evaluate underlying policies, and to ultimately render a proposal for the future delivery of senior housing and health services in a world of finite resources. We want to be thorough in reaching out to as many sources as possible, to gain greater insight and information to help us reach the best decisions and recommendations possible."

Commissioners also agreed to seven field hearings around the country--and the option to hold two additional hearings--with the first field hearing to be held in Syracuse, New York during July 2001.

The other twelve appointed Commissioners are: Jane O'Dell Baumgarten, Member of the Board of Directors, AARP; Reverend Emanuel Cleaver, Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church and former Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri; John Erickson, Chairman/CEO, Erickson Retirement Communities, Catonsville, MD; Reverend Monsignor Henry J. Gugino, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities, Buffalo, New York; M'Liss Solove Houston, President/CEO, MSH Consulting, Inc., Springfield, Virginia; James E. Introne, President, Loretto Systems, Syracuse, New York; Diana McIver, President, Diana McIver and Associates, Austin, Texas; Rita Poundstone, Colorado Housing Finance Authority, Denver, Colorado; Steve Protulis, Assistant to the President, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC; James H. Swanson, Senior Vice President, Paragon Mortgage Corporation, Phoenix, Arizona; James Sykes, Senior Advisor for Aging Policy, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; and Harry Thomas, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle, Washington.

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The page was last modified on August 18, 2001