Commission delivered final report to Congress on June 28, 2002
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For Immediate Release
June 27, 2002
  Contact: Jon Hymes/Kimberly Brock


Senate Panel Hears Co-Chairs Project Housing and Health Services Impact of Baby Boomer Retirees; Offer Proposals to Develop New Approach to Services for Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC- Following one year of independent research, study of demographic and other data and a series of nationwide field hearings, the Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century ("the Seniors Commission") today urged Congress to focus on the "quiet crisis" confronting a rapidly aging America. In testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Co-Chairs Nancy Hooks and Ellen Feingold announced the findings and policy recommendations contained in the final report of the bi-partisan commission.

The Seniors Commission reports that with the aging of the World War II Baby Boom generation, within a decade, the U.S. will face critical shortages in housing and supportive health services for seniors. To address what it refers to as a "quiet crisis," the commission is offering Congress more than 40 specific policy recommendations that call for intensified government, private sector, non-profit and faith-based efforts to improve, streamline, extend and unify services for seniors.

"Our research indicates that we're facing a crisis that threatens the quality of life for seniors for decades to come," said Nancy Hooks, Co-Chair for the Commission who led the drafting of the majority report. "Although aspects of this 'quiet crisis' have been noticed by demographers, today, the Seniors Commission will speak out loudly and clearly, and providing Congress with a blueprint for the future - targeted to safeguard the independence and dignity of our seniors. We are determined to ensure that after today, this will not be a quiet crisis."

Five members of the Commission, led by Co-Chair Ellen Feingold, presented a minority report that provided twelve supplemental recommendations addressing shortfalls in housing and services for elderly that exist today, as well as what can be done to address those anticipated by the Commission for the future.

"While there are many recommendations within the majority report that commissioners agree on, a concerned minority felt it was important to offer a series of supplemental recommendations calling for increased funding for production of affordable housing and other programs and services that address the lack of affordable housing and health care services that seniors in America face today," said Co-Chair Ellen Feingold. "With the need already great and growing rapidly, we urge Congress to consider all of our findings and recommendations as a roadmap for moving rapidly to address this issue."

"For the last year, fourteen men and women, with vastly different backgrounds, occupations, and life experiences, hailing from 11 different states, have worked to provide Americans with an assurance that their government will not allow them to be abandoned in their golden years," said Gerard Holder, Executive Director of the Seniors Commission. "The commission's diversity was a great source of strength and the reason we are able to present to Congress today such a wealth of new data and an array of thoughtful recommendations that represent a broad spectrum of approaches and can inform new policies and legislation."

According to Nancy Hooks, "The Commission reached an important consensus that one of the greatest challenges to addressing this issue is to provide the resources needed for our aging population to achieve their goal of remaining in their own homes and living as independently as possible. Achieving this will require a shift in priorities among long-term care providers and the federal government to provide a stronger focus on services and housing options that can accommodate the changing needs of today's seniors."

The Seniors Commission was created by an act of Congress in 2000 to study and report back to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in June 2002 on the housing and health needs for the next generation of older Americans. The Commission launched a nationwide dialog that included testimony from policy experts, researchers, demographers, government officials, civic leaders, activists, care providers and seniors themselves.

Media Notes: For interview requests, contact Kim Brock at 202-414-0773.

For copies of the complete report, contact the Seniors Commission at (202) 708-4287
or visit the Seniors Commission's website:

The page was last modified on July 12, 2002