The grants are awarded to eligible owners of private housing developments that receive rental subsidies from HUD to house low-income individuals in 36 states and the District of Columbia. These property owners or their management companies either hire or contract service coordinators with backgrounds in providing social services, especially to the frail elderly and people with disabilities, to assist their residents with special needs. Buffington Tower in Little Rock received the grant.
"These service coordinators help us connect senior citizens and those living with disabilities with the services they need to live independently," said Mark Brezina, HUD Regional Administrator. "We're getting older as a nation and these grants go a long way toward ensuring these vulnerable populations are well served and allowed to age in place."
The grants are awarded today are designed for an initial three-year period to allow eligible owners of multifamily housing for the elderly or disabled, to hire and support a service coordinator. The funds cover such costs as salary, benefits, quality assurance, training, office space, equipment, and other related administrative expenses. A 2008 HUD report found aging in place reduces rates of premature institutionalization for low-income elderly residents, thus reducing the costs borne by taxpayers.
As the U.S. population ages and the number of older Americans grows, there will be an increased need for programs to help very low-income elderly persons to continue living independently in their homes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 35 million people age 65 years or older in the U.S. in 2000, and it estimates that by 2050 that number will climb to 80 million.