LEGISLATION WOULD ENHANCE SUPPORT TO MORE THAN 5,000 SENIOR NUTRITION PROGRAMS THAT REDUCE HUNGER, ISOLATION AND SERVE AS A LIFELINE TO MILLIONS OF SENIORS
Arlington, VA – January 30, 2020 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement in response to a compromise Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization bill that was reached between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives – Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020:
Meals on Wheels America commends the leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Senate Aging Committee and House Education and Labor Committee – Senate Chairmen Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Bob Casey, and House Chairman Bobby Scott, Subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici, Ranking Member Virginia Foxx and Subcommittee Ranking Member James Comer – for reaching a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) for five years. The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 would amend the House-passed Dignity in Aging Act and reconciles bills introduced in the Senate to arrive at strong, comprehensive legislation that recognizes the extraordinary impact of the vital services provided through the Act, like Meals on Wheels, on the lives of millions of seniors nationwide. We urge swift and unanimous passage.
The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 includes a number of key priorities to strengthen the senior nutrition network overall and help enhance essential services on which so many individuals rely. Notably, we applaud the 6% increase in authorized appropriations funds for OAA programs; the focus on addressing the negative impacts of social isolation and malnutrition; and the initiatives to capture data around unmet need, including waiting lists for senior nutrition programs. Nearly half of Meals on Wheels America’s members – local senior nutrition providers – have a documented waiting list for meals, and the resources and attention granted by this legislation will improve the network’s ability to close service gaps while continuing to meet the evolving needs of a rapidly growing older adult population.
For more than 50 years, the OAA has supported the nutrition services and infrastructure that serve as a lifeline for millions of seniors, enabling them to remain healthier and independent in their own homes and communities and out of costly hospitals and long-term care facilities. Through the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, Meals on Wheels and the other unique and cost-effective programs and services authorized will have increased access to critical resources needed to more ably serve the 11 million older Americans and their caregivers who depend on them for years to come.
We again thank the House and Senate Committee leadership, as well as their staff, for their hard work and commitment to this process, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to see this bipartisan, bicameral legislation signed into law. Doing so will help to ensure that our nation’s most vulnerable, isolated and food insecure seniors are not forgotten.
Read our letter of support here.
Read the section-by-section summary here.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603