|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 07, 2001
||Contact: Ken Trepeta (202) 708-4302 Ext. 106
San Diego and Southern California Seniors, Advocates Ask U.S. Panel for Action
Seniors Commission listens to witnesses detail the housing and health services crisis facing seniors
and their families, develops a policy blueprint for Congress and White House
San Diego, CA - The Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century
("the Seniors Commission") heard from Southern California senior citizens and leading advocates for the elderly
in its only western U.S. field hearing here today. The daylong hearing examined the cost and availability of housing
and health services aimed at assisting local senior citizens and provided critical insight to commissioners working
to prepare the panel's upcoming report to Congress.
"The Seniors Commission came to San Diego to listen," said Nancy Hooks, Seniors Commission Co-Chair, who opened
the San Diego field hearing. "The voices we heard today will be an important part of our efforts to provide
Congress and the President with a blueprint for a more effective, coordinated and efficient approach to housing
and health services for seniors, particularly as our country faces massive demographic changes and the first waves
of Baby Boomer retirees."
Opening testimony was delivered by Laverne Joseph, President of the California Association for Homes and Services
for the Aging (CAHSA) and Ms. Margarita Rey, an active resident of Los Angeles' Angelus Plaza and leading advocate of
innovative "Aging in Place" strategies. The hearing included a public forum session in which dozens of San Diego
residents spoke out to the Seniors Commission on issues ranging from the lack of available affordable housing for
seniors to the need for more coordination in the delivery of housing and health services to older Americans in need.
"We found that in San Diego, as in other parts of the country, senior citizens are having their incomes and life savings
stretched to the limit by rising housing and health care costs," said Ellen Feingold, Co-Chair of the Seniors Commission.
"Based on what I heard today, I am more committed than ever to making sure that the federal government's policies and
funding priorities reflect the realities that are facing seniors in Southern California, in northern Maine and everywhere
The "Seniors Commission" is a bi-partisan 14-member panel created by an act of Congress to study and report back to
the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on the housing and health needs for the next generation of older
Americans. The Commission is empowered to offer specific policy and legislative recommendations for enhancing services
and increasing the available housing for this important and growing segment of our society.