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Hurtado's legislation would expand care for low-income seniors

Hurtado's legislation would expand care for low-income seniors

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Salas, Hurtado issue statements on budget

Melissa Hurtado

SACRAMENTO —Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) today introduced legislation to expand housing options for seniors and Californians who cannot live independently by allowing residential care facilities to use the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program to partially staff facilities that serve low-income elderly or disabled residents.

“California’s seniors and those living with disabilities have a right to live with dignity with quality housing and comprehensive care,” said Senator Hurtado. “Senate Bill 648 combines two successful programs in an innovative way in order to support the care of Californians who cannot live independently.”

In January, Senator Hurtado, the Chairperson of the Senate Human Services Committee, joined with Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, and Kim McCoy Wade, Director of the California Department of Aging, to unveil California’s first-ever Master Plan for Aging, a comprehensive framework that will prepare the state for significant demographic changes in the years ahead. Among the goals of the Plan is to provide more housing options of seniors.

SB 648 allows licensed Adult Residential Facilities (ARFs) and Residential Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) where more than 75 percent of residents receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the California State Supplementary Payment (SSP) to utilize the IHSS program. IHSS would provide up to 60 hours of caregiving assistance per week. Recipient facilities will be required to reinvest their salary savings in facility maintenance, programming for residents or enhancing their staffing.

More than 200,000 Californians living in an ARF or RCFE depend on these facilities to provide 24-hour care and assistance for essential daily activities such as bathing, eating and transportation to medical appointments. Due to low reimbursement rates, many facilities are unwilling to take residents who receive SSI/SSP, potentially leaving some of the most vulnerable seniors without housing and care. In the past year, the capacity of SSI/SSP recipients to reside in ARFs and RCFEs has declined by about 2,000 and the number of low-income individuals who reside at ARFs and RCFEs has declined almost by 1,000. 

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