HUD launches assisted-living info center

The Housing and Urban Development Department today gave an assist to the nation's 3,700 public housing authorities with the Senior Housing Information Center Web site and toll-free call center.

The new resources will help local governments provide more options so that seniors can age safely at home.

'Our senior citizens should not be prematurely institutionalized because of a lack of services in their current residences,' HUD assistant secretary Michael Liu said. Federally assisted housing can be enriched with services, meals, health care and transportation to meet elderly needs, HUD said.

The site tells public housing authorities how to use existing funding to modernize senior housing. For example, the department's Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency Program could be tapped to hire staff for meal preparation, personal assistance with daily activities, and transportation to medical appointments and shopping. ROSS funds can also be used for physical improvements to apartments and houses to accommodate elderly residents.

The site links to online resources such as Medicaid and other federal programs, research materials, senior housing data and publications. It lists innovative public housing facilities for the elderly in different regions as a source of ideas.

HUD has calculated that subsidizing seniors in place saves 20 percent to 65 percent over moving them to institutions'a tremendous savings for state Medicaid budgets, it said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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