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                                                       Calendar No. 285
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-178

======================================================================
 
      MEETING THE HOUSING AND SERVICE NEEDS OF SENIORS ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

             November 15, 2005.--and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. SHELBY, from the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 705 ]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to 
which was referred the bill (S. 705) to establish the 
Interagency Council on Meeting the Housing and Service Needs of 
Seniors, and for other purposes, reports favorably thereon with 
an amendment, and recommends that the bill, as amended, do 
pass.
    On July 28, 2005 the Committee voted unanimously to report 
the bill to the Senate.

                      HEARING RECORD AND WITNESSES

    On June 16, 2005 the Committee heard from a variety of 
witnesses on their views of S. 705, a bill to establish an 
Interagency Council on Meeting the Housing and Service Needs of 
Seniors.
    The Committee heard from the Honorable Alphonso Jackson, 
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
Development.
    In addition, the Committee heard from: Ms. Nelda Barnett, 
Board Member, AARP; Ms. Dana Jo Olson, Executive Director, 
Laurel Manor Senior Residence (CO), appearing on behalf of 
Volunteers of America; Mr. Steve Proctor, Pennsylvania Non-
Profit Housing Association and President, Presbyterian Homes; 
Dr. William T. Smith, President of American Association of 
Homes and Services for the Aging (NY); Mr. Terry Allton, Vice 
President of Support Services, National Church Residences and 
Chairman, American Association of Service Coordinators (OH); 
Mr. Steve Protulis, Executive Director, Elderly Housing 
Development & Operations Corporation (FL); and Mr. David G. 
Wood, United States Government Accountability Office.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The senior population in the United States is growing 
rapidly, and is expected to reach 50 million by the year 2020. 
By the year 2030, over one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 
over 65 years of age. In recognition of the need to plan for 
this population, in 1999, Congress established the Commission 
on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors 
(``Seniors Commission''). This Commission was created to study 
and report back to Congress on the housing and health needs of 
seniors, and to make specific policy and legislative 
recommendations on how these needs could be met.
    On June 30, 2002, the Seniors Commission presented its 
findings to Congress, which contained vital information about 
seniors and made a number of recommendations. The Seniors 
Commission found that seniors need a wide variety of housing 
opportunities which link housing and services. Over 18 percent 
of seniors (over 5.8 million) who do not reside in nursing 
facilities have difficulty performing their daily activities 
and over one million of these seniors require assistance with 
many of their basic tasks. The Seniors Commission reported that 
for many seniors, service-enriched housing opportunities are 
needed to avoid premature institutionalization.
    Despite the overwhelming desire of seniors to remain in 
their homes and out of institutionalized settings, the Seniors 
Commission found that ``many seniors across the income spectrum 
are at risk of institutionalization or neglect due to declining 
health and loss or absence of support and timely 
interventions.''
    There are numerous federal programs which can assist 
seniors in meeting their needs. However, the programs and 
benefits are fragmented across several agencies and 
departments, creating a confusing maze of bureaucracies for 
seniors and their families to navigate in order to access 
needed housing and supportive services. The Seniors Commission 
documented this fragmentation in their report, and found that 
``the most striking characteristic of seniors'' housing and 
health care in this country is the disconnection of one field 
from another.'' The Commission concluded that ``the time has 
come for coordination among Federal and State agencies and 
administrators.''

                   PURPOSE AND SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION

    S. 705 establishes the Interagency Council on Meeting the 
Housing and Service Needs of Seniors. The Council is comprised 
of the highest level officials who oversee the various programs 
that serve seniors. The Committee believes that this will 
ensure that Council recommendations will be endorsed by those 
who have decision-making authority over the various programs, 
and therefore it is the hope of the Committee that any 
recommendations made by the Council will be quickly accepted 
and implemented.
    The Council will be comprised of the Secretaries of the 
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services as well as the 
Secretaries, or designees of the Department of Agriculture, 
Labor, Transportation, VeteransAffairs, and the Treasury. Also 
serving on the Council will be the following (or their designees): the 
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, the Administrator 
of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Administrator 
of the Administration on Aging. In order to ensure that state and local 
perspectives are considered, the Council will also have three 
additional members- a Governor, a Mayor and a local official, as 
appointed by the President. These state and local representatives are 
not to be considered federal employees.
    While most of the federal officials serving on the Council 
will be able to appoint a designee to the Council, the 
legislation does not allow the Secretaries of the U.S. 
Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services to appoint a designee. 
The Committee believes that in order to truly coordinate 
housing and services, these two Secretaries and Departments 
must be fully involved in the collaborative process. The 
Committee believes that this Council will be helpful in 
allowing these Secretaries and the Departments they oversee to 
better serve a large segment of their clients- senior citizens. 
Each of these two Secretaries will serve as Chair for rotating 
two year periods.
    The Council will work primarily to coordinate federal 
departments and agencies so that seniors are better served, and 
can more easily age in place or find alternative suitable 
living arrangements. The Council will help to ensure that 
seniors and their families have access to better information 
and programs, so that seniors can easily access housing linked 
with services. The Council will work to ensure ongoing 
collaboration among and within agencies that serve seniors, and 
will serve as a permanent national platform to address the 
needs and issues of our aging population as that population 
continues to grow.
    In order to carry out its objectives, the Council will have 
meetings, hold hearings to gather input from interested 
stakeholders, undertake a thorough review of programs for 
seniors and assess the actual needs of seniors around the 
country. The Council will meet no less than four times a year. 
Regular meetings of the Council will help to avoid the problems 
experienced by the Interagency Council on Homelessness, where 
the Interagency Council on Homelessness was inactive for a 
number of years. The Committee believes it is important, 
especially in getting the Seniors Council established, that the 
Council meet regularly to establish an agenda, procedures, 
ethics guidelines, and timelines for hearings and activities. 
Since this is a large time commitment, the Committee expects 
the Council to adopt internal guidelines and policies to ensure 
that these requirements are not overly burdensome on any 
members, including the Chair. These policies may allow someone 
other than the Chair to oversee Member meetings. In addition, 
the Committee expects the Council to appoint a qualified 
Executive Director and hire staff so that the day-to-day 
activities of the Council can be carried out effectively.
    After holding hearings, assessing programs and needs, 
identifying best practices, and collecting relevant data, the 
Council will make recommendations to Congress about 
administrative and legislative changes that should be made so 
that existing resources are maximized and programs are 
effective, duplication is reduced or eliminated, and programs 
and services can be easily pieced together.
    While the focus of the Council is coordination of the 
federal programs, the Committee understands that federal 
programs and services are only one part of the much larger 
solution to meeting the needs of seniors. The Council must work 
with State, local and private partners in order to adequately 
prepare for the needs of the growing elderly population. Under 
this bill, the Council is required to hold individual meetings 
with State representatives, provide ongoing technical 
assistance and work with States so that each State identifies a 
liaison to work with the Council on an ongoing basis.
    Each year, the Council will prepare a report to Congress on 
the barriers and impediments to addressing the needs of 
seniors, the efforts made by each agency to increase 
opportunities for seniors to find service enriched housing, as 
well as the efforts to coordinate with other programs. Each 
agency which serves seniors is required to provide information 
to the Council annually, and on an ongoing basis, as necessary, 
to ensure that the Council is able to perform its duties and 
meet its obligations. The Committee envisions that the Council 
as part of the executive branch will work with the President as 
other federal agencies do prior to reporting to Congress and 
making administrative and legislative recommendations.
    The bill authorizes $1.5 million per year for 5 years so 
that the Council can carry out its activities.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the title of the bill, the 
``Meeting the Housing and Service Needs of Seniors Act of 
2005''

Section 2. Congressional findings

    This section states Congressional Findings, including:
          (1) The senior population (persons 65 or older) in 
        this country is rapidly growing, and is expected to 
        increase from 34,700,000 in 2000 to nearly 40,000,000 
        by 2010, and then will dramatically increase to over 
        50,000,000 by 2020.
          (2) Seniors need access to a wide array of housing 
        options, such as affordable assisted living, in home 
        care, supportive or service-enriched housing, and 
        retrofitted homes and apartments to allow seniors to 
        age in place and to avoid premature placement in 
        institutional settings.
          (3) While there are many programs in place to assist 
        seniors in finding and affording suitable housing and 
        accessing needed services, these programs are 
        fragmented and spread across many agencies, making it 
        difficult for seniors to access assistance or to 
        receive comprehensive information.
          (4) Better coordination among Federal agencies is 
        needed, as is better coordination at State and local 
        levels, to ensure that seniors can access government 
        activities, programs, services, and benefits in an 
        effective and efficient manner.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section provides definitions of the following terms: 
``housing,'' ``service,'' ``program,'' ``Council,'' and 
``senior.''

Section 4. Interagency Council on Meeting the Housing and Service Needs 
        of Seniors

    This section establishes a high level executive branch 
Interagency Council on Meeting the Housing and Service Needs of 
Seniors.
    This section also lays out the objectives of the Council, 
including promoting coordination and collaboration among the 
federal agencies and departments which serve seniors; 
identifying housing and service needs of seniors; facilitating 
the aging in place of seniors; making recommendations about 
needed changes to maximize the impact of existing programs, 
reduce duplication and increase access to programs and 
services.
    This section details the Council membership--the 
Secretaries of HUD and HHS, as well as the Secretaries or 
designees of the Department of Agriculture, Labor, 
Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury. Also 
serving on the Council will be the following (or their 
designees): the Commissioner of the Social Security 
Administration, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare 
and Medicaid Services and the Administrator of the 
Administration on Aging. The Council will also have three 
additional members--a Governor, a Mayor and a local official, 
as appointed by the President. This section establishes that 
the Secretaries of HUD and HHS will chair the Council in 
rotating 2-year terms. Under this section, the Council is 
required to meet quarterly, and must hold at least 2 meetings a 
year with stakeholders and interested parties. This requirement 
can be met by opening at least two of the quarterly meetings to 
the public.

Section 5. Functions of the Council

    This section lists the activities that the Council will 
undertake in meeting its objectives. In meeting its objectives, 
the Council will: review all federal programs and services that 
assist seniors; monitor, evaluate and recommend improvements in 
existing programs, and how programs can be better coordinated; 
recommend ways to reduce duplication and ensure greater 
collaboration; work to facilitate the aging in place of 
seniors; work with states to ensure programs and services are 
coordinated at state and local levels; identify best practices 
for meeting the needs of seniors; ensure seniors have access to 
information about programs and services, including the 
establishment of a website; and maintain updated data sources 
on seniors and their needs.
    This section also requires that each agency or department 
that is a member of the Council provide a report to the Council 
that describes: each program in the agency or department that 
serves a substantial number of seniors; any barriers to the 
access and use of such programs; the efforts made by the agency 
in increasing service enriched housing opportunities for 
seniors; and any new data relating to housing and service needs 
of seniors.
    Based on the information provided by each member agency, 
the Council is required to prepare and transmit a report to 
Congress and the President that summarizes the agency 
information; assesses the needs of seniors; provides a 
comprehensive description of the programs and services that 
exist for seniors; describes how the agencies and Council are 
working with state and local governments and private 
organizations to better coordinate senior programs; and makes 
recommendations for legislative and administrative changes 
needed to better meet the needs of seniors.

Section 6. Powers of the Council

    This section details how the Council will work, including 
granting the Council the power to hold hearings and take 
testimony as needed. In addition, this section provides that 
member agencies must provide the Council with all requested 
information. This section also requires the Council to adopt 
internal ethics guidelines.

Section 7. Council Personnel Matters

    This section clarifies that Council members shall not be 
compensated for their service on the Council. Under this 
section, the Council must appoint an Executive Director at its 
initial meeting, and the Executive Director, with the approval 
of the Council may hire staff.
    This section also requires the Secretaries of the U.S. 
Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services to provide all 
necessary administrative support including office space and 
computer/internet access.

Section 8. Authorization of Appropriations

    This section authorizes $1.5 million per year for 5 years 
for the Council.

                        COST OF THE LEGISLATION

                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, August 5, 2005.
Hon. Richard C. Shelby,
Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 705, the Meeting the 
Housing and Service Needs of Seniors Act of 2005.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Jimin Chung 
and Matthew Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 705.--Meeting the Housing and Service Needs of Seniors Act of 2005

    Summary: CBO estimates that implementing S. 705 would cost 
$7.5 million over the 2006-2010 period, assuming appropriation 
of the authorized amounts for those years. Enacting S. 705 
would not affect direct spending or receipts. The legislation 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    S. 705 would establish the Interagency Council on Meeting 
the Housing and Service Needs of Seniors and would authorize 
the appropriation of $1.5 million for each fiscal year through 
2010. The Council would work to improve the collaboration and 
coordination between federal departments and agencies that 
provide senior citizens with housing, health care, and other 
related services.
    The Council would be composed of at least 13 members, 
including 10 from federal agencies, and led by the Secretaries 
of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the 
Department of Health and Human Services. Members of the Council 
would serve without compensation. However, the Council would be 
authorized to appoint an executive director, who could hire 
temporary staff and provide other services as authorized by 
law. Federal agencies also could provide technical and 
administrative support. CBO estimates that the costs incurred 
by federal agencies would not be significant.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jimin Chung 
and Matthew Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. 
Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                 CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW (CORDON RULE)

    On July 28, 2005, the Committee unanimously approved a 
motion by Senator Shelby to waive the Cordon rule. Thus, in the 
opinion of the Committee, it is necessary to dispense with the 
requirement of section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of 
the Senate in order to expedite the business of the Senate.