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Workforce development, dementia care and affordable senior housing are among the funding priorities affecting senior living included in the proposed House appropriations bill.

Argentum and LeadingAge applauded the reports accompanying the fiscal year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development funding bills. The House Appropriations Committee held a markup hearing on the FY23 appropriations bill Thursday. 

“On workforce alone, this appropriations outline will help bring more people into the profession where staffing challenges have affected communities far and wide,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said. “More seniors will need assisted care than ever before, but Argentum projects that the workforce shortages in the near future will be at catastrophic levels if more is not done.” 

The spending outline for FY23 is the start of a legislative process that likely will stretch to the end of the year, but Argentum said it “provides a foundation for putting senior living residents, staff and owners / operators at the top of related appropriations targets.”

Among the senior living funding provision recommendations related to senior living, according to Argentum:

  • $3.1 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grants to states.  
  • $303 million for registered apprenticeships. 
  • $3 million for a Direct Care Workforce Demonstration project to reduce barriers to employment, including providing wages, benefits and advancement opportunities to attract or retain direct care workers.
  • $48 million for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program to support training to integrate geriatrics into primary care delivery and develop academic primary care-community based partnerships to address healthcare gaps for older adults.
  • $324 million for nursing workforce development programs and a recommendation to HRSA to prioritize investments to increase the supply of RNs.
  • A $200 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research.

Affordable housing

LeadingAge Vice President of Housing Policy Linda Couch said during Wednesday’s membership call that the House FY 23 HUD report reflects the association’s priorities, including new Section 202 housing, wellness and housing services for Section 202 residents, and internet access for residents.

The bill proposes $63 billion for HUD, a $9 billion increase over FY22, including a more than 16% increase for HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. According to LeadingAge, the bill’s $1.2 billion for the Section 202 program includes $323 million for 3,500 new Section 202 homes. 

Couch said the HUD bill’s report also reflects several concerns highlighted by LeadingAge, including the release of all remaining Section 202 funding, funding delays for HUD’s Integrated Wellness in Supportive House 40-site demonstration project, barriers to building-wide internet services for Section 202 units, HUD workforce and employee retention and increases to the accessible HUD-assisted units.

The Senate is expected to take action on its appropriations bill this fall.