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ministered by State units on aging are coming from various sources with varying regulations.
For instance, training funds are from one funding source, nursing home ombudsman and legal services from another, and title VII from still another. This method of granting funds unnecessarily compounds and complicates bookkeeping and budgeting procedures. From the standpoint of efficient administration, it would be much simpler for the Administration on Aging to allocate to each State one lump sum of money with which to operate all the programs and one set of regulations and guidelines by which to operate them.
Furthermore, the States should be given the authority to determine program and spending priorities as long as they are in keeping with the intent of the Older Americans Act and fiscally accountable under Federal cost procedures.
While the Administration on Aging programs are far from perfect and still have a long way to go, they have accomplished a great deal. We are certainly nearer our goal of providing comprehensive and coordinated services for the elderly than we were in 1973. Many of our accomplishments thus far are the result of coordination activities engaged in by many concerned people and agencies.
In this presentation I have raised some issues concerning coordination and have presented some options and alternatives. I trust that these ideas will stimulate your thinking so that we can continue working together to better serve America's senior citizens.
Senator EAGLETON. On page 1, Mr. McKenzie, of your prepared statement you refer to the State funded senior center program.
Mr. MCKENZIE. That's right.
Senator EAGLETON. As you know, there is a federally funded senior center program under title V. Now, how do those two mesh here?
Mr. MCKENZIE. The title V provides for acquisition, renovation of the senior centers, whereas the State senior center services program, which is totally State funded, is provided to the localities for establishment of social services, primarily.
Senator EAGLETON. You mean title V is the feds, that's us guys up here. We either build the building, acquire the property, renovate it, et cetera, and then under your State program you commence ongoing operation ?
Mr. MCKENZIE. Yes.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Right. There were 10 senior center programs operating prior to title V funds coming into the State, so we did have 10 senior centers inside the State operating prior to title V.
Senator EAGLETON. You have 10 of them in operation?
Senator EAGLETON. Tell me, then, there are only one or two here in New Orleans, I take it.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Yes.
Senator EAGLETON. How are they operating? What is being done! How are they being utilized ? Are they being well received? Just give me a little on what is happening.
Mr. MCKENZIE. You might want to speak toward that, Janet.
What are your
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. I think the senior center concept is an excellent idea in terms of serving as a focal point for the senior center programs for the elderly. I think they are being well received.
I think one of the main problems is the funding level and the need for increased funding level to start these types of programs. In Louisiana, even though it is a State operated program, at this point we still have very limited resources. The concept is good in terms of bringing together different services into one place where the elderly person can come into the senior center and receive a variety of services rather than having to go to five different places to receive, for example, five different services.
I think this is something that we are looking forward to, developing more of in the future, more senior center programs. In the rural areas it is a greater problem because there the resources are not available, and, also, you have the other problems in terms of getting the people to the services once the services are established.
Senator EAGLETON. I have a note here under title V, again talking about these multipurpose senior centers. On November 8, 1977, just a month or so ago, notice was issued from the Administration on Aging in Washington announcing a major initiative of developing new and strengthening existing multipurpose senior centers. The notice urges State and area agencies to use their increased resources toward that end. increased resources, if
and what are you going to do pursuant to that directive?
Mr. McKENZIE. Would you like to address that?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. I think they are speaking about increased resources, in that particular memorandum they are referring to title V moneys which have become available to the States. As you are probably aware, this is the second time the State has received money under title V. The first time was the interim quarter funding which was July through September of last year and then this time is the first full year that the State has received funding for title V programs.
Senator EAGLETON. Quarterly or on an annual basis? Do you have a lump sum on an annual basis?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. The first time it was for a quarter because of the change in the Federal fiscal year. This time it is for a full year.
Senator EAGLETON. How much is Louisiana going to get?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Approximately $290,000, I believe, is the figure at this point.
Senator EAGLETON. That is an increment over what it was heretofore or that is the total
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. That is the total State allocation.
Senator EAGLETON. That is to build, acquire, rehabilitate, et cetera, senior centers?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Right.
Senator EAGLETON. $290,000; that sounds like a lot of money, but it isn't when you are talking about construction costs and repairs. It is rather a tiny amount for the real world.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Right. Senator EAGLETON. I have some other questions, but I am going to yield to my colleague.
Senator JOHNSTON. Thank you very much, Senator Eagleton.
I want to thank Mr. McKenzie and Ms. Slaybaugh for excellent testimony. I think you have made a very strong case on this need to coordinate and I think it is irrefutable. I would like to ask another question, if I may, dealing with the substance of the programs on older Americans.
As we go into the next Congress or in the next year and the next Congress and the next few years, I would like to hear your views on what our priorities ought to be with respect to substantive areas on helping the aged. What are the biggest substantive areas? Is it health? Is it nutrition? Is it recreation? Is it transportation? Is it housing? What is it, in your view, in order of priorities the things that we ought to be doing?
Mr. CRAWFORD. Senator, in my view of this thing, Senator Johnston would be transportation. That is bad and needed very bad.
Senator JOHNSTON. Thank you for that comment. I appreciate that.
Mr. McKENZIE. I think one of the main areas of concern, and this is something that we have just recently brought up in one of our meetings with the area agencies on aging, is hoping that we will be able to have a task force to meet and also to meet with legislators after these needs have been defined, but at the first point is to determine really where our priorities are in the State in terms of Louisiana's elderly citizens to find out what the needs are and to present those to our legislators and see what can be done.
At this time, I really don't think we have any specific top four or top five. Transportation, of course, is one with medical care. You might want to respond to any others.
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. I will try to respond in part to the question. I think when we start talking about the needs of the elderly, we may need to look outside the Older Americans Act per se because some of the greater needs are like for, say, income. The health needs which we need to look at, possibly title XIX, and how we could better coordinate title XIX with the Older Americans Act.
We also need to look at, like you mentioned, housing in Louisiana in terms of programs outside of the Older Americans Act. Title XX, where we have had a very good relationship with the State agency operating title XX. The four priorities for title XX, No. 1 priority being transportation; No. 2 being homemakers; No. 3 being nutrition services and No. 4 being day care.
Senator JOHNSTON. No. 1 priority is transportation ?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. No. 1 priority, in terms of the Older Americans Act and title XX services. This is when you cannot, for example, provide income, when you start talking about the Older Americans Act or title XX, but income could be considered the No. 1 priority need of the older people.
Health services is another very real need of older people. This is something that we are looking outside of the Older Americans Act or title XX per se.
Also, housing is a very real need of older people. Here again we are looking at resources outside of the Older Americans Act for outside of title XX. When we start looking at title XX and the Older Americans Act within Louisiana, we have established four priority areas: transportation, day care, homemaker or in home services, and nutrition service centers.
Senator JOHNSTON. If we had plenty of money or, to put it another way, if we were able to convince our colleagues to make these things higher priorities in terms of Federal spending, what would you do in terms of transportation? How can we solve that problem for older Americans?
My friend back here is correct when he said we need transportation. What do we do if we have got the money?
Ms. SLAYBAUGH. Transportation has been a very real issue. I think at this point there is no real answer. I think, especially in Louisiana, you have to look at the difference in the population or the geographical areas when you start looking at this problem. For example, I do not think that you could possibly resolve the transportation issues the same in the rural areas as you could, say, in metropolitan New Orleans, so you may have to look at a combination of methods; but I do think that much more needs to be done.
Senator Johnston. Let me ask one unrelated question, if I may. What percentage of senior citizens, let's say 65 and older, own their own homes in Louisiana as opposed to rent their homes or otherwise live in a non-owned home? Mr. MCKENZIE. Do you have any figures?
STATEMENT OF MR. MCGOVERN, A RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS
Mr. MCGOVERN. Senator Johnston, I have been a resident of New Orleans and the West Bank for a long time, so I have seen a lot of politicians argue for and against various studies. Talking about transportation, one of our problems is a bridge, an additional bridge. Just this morning, I didn't think I would ever get here and there was no special rush or anything.
But in all honesty, and no names—the politicians start arguing and arguing and arguing and they get a research and a survey and another one while the transportation just does not get any place. A bridge is a necessity to both the East and West Bank, but the local politicians on both sides are interested in their welfare first.
If the politicians would get out there and have a moral conviction to do what is right for the people--and we have got to put morals in our life, not just money-then we could accomplish something. Once another bridge was there where we could freely travel in both directions, you could tie all kinds of transit and do certain things. Everything is money, and I hate to say it, but a lot of politicians say, "What is in it for me?” We have forgotten the Good Lord and what is good. We talk about humanity, but we really have got no inner good feeling for people.
Senator JOHNSTON. I appreciate those comments.
Mr. McGOVERN. We have got to have more than just money. Money is important, very important, but we have got to eliminate a lot of the politics. There is too much politics battling for “What is in it for me?" and I am not talking about the higher, it begins at the low level.
Senator EAGLETON. Thank you very much, sir.
Mrs. Boggs. Well, I agree with the comments that the gentleman is making because it gets back to what we were talking about a minute ago: the impact of certain programs on other programs. We can talk about transportation for the elderly; we can talk about all the new equipment that can be put physically on vehicles to aid the elderly; we can talk about alternative of programs of delivery, but unless we do have the means of coordinating metropolitan travel with bridges and roads and rail transportation, we certainly can't get people transported quickly and safely to the various centers where they can participate in the various programs.
The question you raised of whether indeed coordination should be first priority or whether there should be an alternative of having the programs in place and then coordinating secondary levels is interesting. Of course, this is an important issue. Mayor-elect Morial sug. gests that perhaps we should look at the community development block grant programs as it applies to the programs for the elderly; that would be almost in reverse to what you are suggesting of hav. ing everything lumped into a State payment and then a coordinated program from there in. Can you help us in this discrepancy?
Mr. McKENZIE. These are just possibilities that I mentioned. I think with my experience in the Bureau of Aging, which has been only a couple of weeks, this is one of the things that I have been confronted with which has been very disturbing and that is the coordination itself in trying to implement various programs that the Bureau is responsible for. It is difficult to find standardization or uniformity. I think not only in the State programs, but also from the national level as they come down.
This is one thing that we feel that really needs to be considered and determined in the upcoming proposals that will be submitted for rewriting the Older Americans Act. It just seems that from the State's standpoint, of course, it would be much easier to operate and to administer programs if you did, you know, have that under one unit that way. I am not saying that this would be better, at this point I would not be able to say that.
Mrs. Boggs. Since income and housing and health are really outside of the administration of the Older Americans Act, the impact of these programs upon the Older Americans Act programs have to be recognized. I was curious about how coordination could take place without having this overall local level planning with the other areas because, of course, the local areas have to be coordinated.
For instance, a community center for the elderly, hopefully we are using some of the housing preservation acts in order to preserve landmarks that means something to the community and that are already in place and to adapt them to uses for centers for the elderly. You use two programs so you have money from both, hopefully, and at the same time you are really creating two good programs for the community.
I am interested in your observation and I wonder how we can really coordinate what goes on at the city level, while having a lump sum program go directly to the State agency.