Commission delivered final report to Congress on June 28, 2002
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October 10, 2001
  Contact: Ken Trepeta (202) 708-4302 Ext. 106
Cell: (703) 216-2308

Seniors Commission's Ohio Hearing Focuses on Housing and Health Care Costs

Columbus Field Hearing allows Commissioners, member of Congress, expert witnesses, senior citizen advocates to examine ways to ease living costs and expand choices for older Americans and their families.

Columbus, Ohio -- The Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century, ("the Seniors Commission"), held the second of its series of nationwide field hearings here in the Ohio Statehouse on September 24, 2001. In keeping with its mandate to provide policy recommendations to Congress, the Seniors Commission's day-long session examined ways the public and private sectors can develop and use new financing strategies to improve the housing and health care services available to senior citizens. The hearing was sponsored by the Association of Ohio Philanthropic Homes, Housing, and Services for the Aging and the Ohio Department of Aging, and featured a presentation by U.S. Congressman Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), a member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.

"The people of Columbus and the State of Ohio welcomed the Seniors Commission with open arms and helped make this hearing so informative and successful," said Gerard Holder, the Commission's Executive Director. "The Commissioners know that there is important and innovative work being done in communities across our country that is making life better for seniors. The final report to Congress will reflect the best of what's being accomplished and the informed voices we're hearing from coast to coast."

America's elderly population is growing exponentially. Currently, there are more than 33 million Americans age 65 or older and by the year 2020, this number will grow to almost 53 million, or one in every six citizens. This growth will also be accompanied by other fundamental elderly concerns, including the nation's financial ability to assure the availability of affordable, quality housing and related in-home and institutional healthcare facilities to serve elderly populations ranging from the recently retired, healthy elderly to older, frail elderly. In Columbus, the Seniors Commission examined overall links between housing and the services that seniors need now and may need in the future.

In testimony before the Commission, Joan Lawrence, Director of the Ohio Department of Aging, sought to reinforce the idea that housing is connected to health care and other services needed by seniors. "Housing conditions impact people's need for community services, and housing costs impact their ability to pay for services," Lawrence said.

"The numbers are truly staggering," noted Co-Chair Ellen Feingold. "However, thankfully, many of the tools to address this problem are already in existence and just need to be improved," Feingold added. Co-Chair Nancy Hooks agreed, "we will definitely need to improve current programs to make them work better together, and we will also need to look for new ways. This is not a problem that government can solve alone."

The Commission's next field hearing is scheduled for November 7, 2001 in San Diego, California, and will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. The Commission will examine new data relating to the housing and health care needs of older Americans, and impact projections for the years to come.

A new website,, contains up-to-the-minute information on the field hearing schedule and participants, and the work of the Seniors Commission.

The page was last modified on October 10, 2001