U.S. Capitol Buiding dome

The American Seniors Housing Association kicked off its second Senior Living Strong Virtual Lobbying “Fly-In” by advocating for additional COVID-19 relief and immigration reform.

ASHA President and CEO David Schless said that as the industry continues to feel pandemic financial pressures and calls for additional relief are surfacing, it’s time to remind policymakers about senior living’s “outsized role” in keeping communities safe over the past two years and beyond.

“We are requesting that any new COVID-19 relief measure that may advance in Congress include a replenishment of the Provider Relief Fund,” Schless said. “The financial impact of lost occupancy and increased staff costs due to the workforce shortage is not expected to abate anytime soon; and so any additional assistance would go a long way to moving this industry toward recovery.”

ASHA also is asking Congress to prioritize immigration reform to address workforce challenges, saying that those shortages will only intensify as the population ages.

ASHA Vice President of Government Affairs Jeanne McGlynn Delgado said that ASHA is connecting senior living owners and operators with members of Congress to talk about the “good work being done every day” in senior living communities in their district or state. She called it “a meaningful way to increase and enhance their level of knowledge about the value you bring to residents, their families and the greater healthcare system.’

“Our efforts in advancing policies, such as additional COVID relief and immigration reform, underscores the industry’s commitment to serving this population as best we can, not only now but to mee the future demand for senior living,” Delgado said.

ASHA’s “Fly-In” is expected to coincide with the timing of potential congressional funding actions. In 2021, ASHA connected more than 50 of its members with more than 40 members of Congress and their staff members, which they said helped secure access to the Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund distributions last year and into 2022.