|EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
Monday, January 14, 2002
||Contact: Ken Trepeta (202) 708-4302 Ext. 106
Jon Hymes (202) 957-7863
Kim Brock (202) 414-0773 / 202 408-0808
U.S. Seniors Commission Hears From Miami Seniors, AARP Leader
Panel's policy blueprint for Congress and the President will include data and insight from South Florida seniors, senior advocates, housing and health service providers, government officials and policy experts.
Miami, FL - The U.S. Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century ("the Seniors Commission") today continued the national dialog it launched on senior housing and health care issues with a [9:15 a.m.] facility tour and [10:00 a.m.] field hearing at Robert Sharp Towers I, 103 NW 202 Terrace, Miami, a senior living center operated by the Elderly Housing and Development Operations Corporation. The daylong session, the fourth in a coast-to-coast series organized by the Seniors Commission since July 2001, was designed to examine South Florida and national trends related to the cost and availability of housing and health services available to seniors.
The witnesses scheduled to appear included:
- C. Keith Campbell, National Board Chairman of AARP
- Rene Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Housing Authority
- Residents of Miami-Dade Housing Authority facilities
- Dr. Ariela Rodriguez, Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Centers
The hearing was fully open to the public and included an open forum session in which concerned citizens could speak directly to the commissioners.
"This commission is very concerned that in Miami, as in other parts of the country, too many senior citizens can't stretch their income and life savings far enough to meet rising housing and health care costs," said Ellen Feingold, Co-Chair of the Seniors Commission. "The purpose of the Miami field hearing is give us a chance to look carefully at this situation, listen to seniors and work to ensure that the federal government's policies and funding priorities reflect the realities that are facing seniors in South Florida and across the U.S."
In remarks to the commissioners, AARP's Campbell unveiled the views of the nation's largest pro-seniors organization on the issues under the commission's jurisdiction. AARP has 34 million members nationally, including 2.6 million in the state of Florida. In addition to a series of policy recommendations, AARP officially released two studies related to senior housing and health care in America and submitted both to the commission for consideration.
"The witnesses and participants in today's hearing have contributed to our national dialog on senior housing and health issues," said Nancy Hooks, Seniors Commission Co-Chair. "I was particularly pleased to listen to Mr. [AARP Board Chairman C. Keith] Campbell and look forward to reviewing the new data, new analyses, new insight and thoughtful proposals offered by AARP."
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, which is empowered to offer specific policy and legislative recommendations for enhancing services and increasing affordable housing for seniors, will deliver its final report to Capitol Hill and the White House by June 30, 2002.
"The fact is that America is aging quickly," said Commissioner Steve Protulis. "We must act now to produce a more effective, coordinated and efficient approach to housing and health services for seniors, particularly as South Florida and our country face massive demographic changes and the first waves of Baby Boomer retirees."