Washington – RealEstateRama – Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) today issued the following statement after introducing the Expanding Service Coordinators Act. This legislation would increase funding for and make reforms to service coordinator programs to expand the national service coordinator workforce, which is currently strained. Service coordinators connect individuals and families living in federally assisted housing with a wide range of social services, including health care, meals, transportation, job training, and education.
“Service coordinators help older adults, adults with disabilities, and families in federally subsidized housing navigate everyday challenges and reach long-term stability,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Increasing the role of service coordinators can improve quality of life, address isolation, and help the most vulnerable stay housed. I’m pleased to introduce the Expanding Service Coordinators Act with Reps. Smith and Beatty to make more service coordinators available and provide them with the support they need to be successful.”
“Federally assisted housing offers individuals and families permanent and supportive housing and supportive services they need to lead stable and productive lives. Service coordinators are essential to these programs, but unfortunately, federal programs that employ service coordinators are severely underfunded. The legislation I’m introducing today would increase federal funding for service coordinator programs and make important reforms to these programs to improve the capacity and retention of service coordinators,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “There are many incredible organizations in Washington’s Ninth and across the country providing crucial social services, and service coordinators help people navigate this system. The Expanding Service Coordinators Act is a significant step towards ensuring we have the service coordinator workforce we need for residents of federally assisted housing to thrive.”
“Investing in service coordinator programs will ensure that older adults and those living with disabilities in my district and across the country have access to pivotal services that for too long have gone overlooked and underfunded,” said Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. “I’m proud to partner on this essential bill, the Expanding Services Coordinators Act, with my colleagues Reps. Smith and Bonamici to increase the funding needed to adequately support service coordinator programs, which will ultimately improve housing stability and prevent residents from falling into homelessness.”
The Expanding Service Coordinators Act is endorsed by American Association of Service Coordinators, LeadingAge, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, King County Housing Authority, Seattle Housing Authority, Tacoma Housing Authority, Public Housing Authority Directors Association, B’nai B’rith, Compass Housing Alliance, CSI Support & Development, Life Steps, Local Initiatives Support Coalition, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc., Wesley Housing Corp., Massachusetts Association of Resident Service Coordinators in Housing, HumanGood, Sage Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders, United Church Homes, Volunteers of America National Services, MJ Housing Services, National Church Residences, National Centers for Assisted Living, New Hampshire Association of Professional Service Coordinators, Embrace Living Communities, WinnCompanies, National Affordable Housing Managers Association, USAging.
Statements of Support for the Expanding Service Coordinators Act
“This historic federal funding bill prioritizes the needs of older adults, empowers families with the resources they need to become self-sufficient, and grows supportive affordable housing across the country – in short, it is everything that a bill from Congress should strive to do. Service Coordinators are essential to the health and safety of older adults by connecting them with vital resources and allowing them to age in their own communities. They provide families the tools they need to become and remain self-sufficient, reducing other costly taxpayer-funded programs. Finally, Service Coordinators are a crucial part of solving our nation’s affordable housing crisis – by helping break down the barriers so many face while trying to access the necessary services and supports that keep them healthy, happy, and housed. With this legislation, and the continued leadership of Representative Smith, we are one step closer to changing the narrative and making a substantial difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country.” – Michelle Missler, President & CEO, American Association of Service Coordinators
“Service coordinators are the linchpin connecting low-income older residents living in federally assisted housing to such critical services as transportation and physician appointments. The work they do helps to reduce older adults’ need for emergency room visits, longer stays in the hospital or transfers to higher levels of care. Mission-driven affordable senior housing providers, including thousands of LeadingAge members, are eager to hire more service coordinators. The Expanding Service Coordinators Act would help to achieve that goal by expanding the number of service coordinators in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-assisted homes, creating the first pool of federal funding for service coordinators in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) communities, and supporting service coordinator training and education. LeadingAge is grateful to Representative Smith for being a champion of service coordinators and recognizing their critical role in affordable housing communities.” – Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO, LeadingAge
“I applaud Congressman Smith for introducing this critical legislation, which recognizes the need to provide supportive and connecting services to people living in federally assisted housing. The extra support provided by a service coordinator can make all the difference for a family taking that next step toward economic independence, improved health, or maintained social wellbeing.” – Robin Walls, Executive Director/CEO, King County Housing Authority
“The Seattle Housing Authority appreciates Representative Smith introducing this legislation to increase funding for support service coordinators. We are continuing to see an increasing need for this type of service for our residents. We have first-hand experience that shows these types of partnerships, personal connections and culturally appropriate services make a difference in whether our residents struggle or thrive. We provide these services but resources fall far short of the need.” – Rod Brandon, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority
“We are happy to continue supporting the Congressman’s efforts to increase and incentivize the supportive services needed to stably house households. Placing a high value on the critical work that Service Coordinators perform while supporting their education is an admirable step.” – April Black, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority
“New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc. (NERSC) supports the Expanding Service Coordinator Act, as it would make critical investments and expansions to the Service Coordinator Program.” – Jannel Satterwhite-Williamson, Board President, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc.
“We thank Representative Adam Smith for re-introducing this important legislation that will help support and better fund our nation’s service coordinator programs. Service coordinators play a critical role in ensuring seniors and individuals with disabilities have access to affordable assisted living and other social services. At NCAL, increasing the availability of affordable assisted living is one of our main priorities. We look forward to working with Congress on advancing the Expanding Services Coordinators Act and streamlining access to quality care.” – Christopher Donnellan, Senior Director, American Healthcare Association
“I write to express my support and that of Wesley Living for the Expanding Service Coordinator Act. Through my 25 plus years of affordable housing, I have found that the most beneficial program for our resident’s welfare is the service coordinator program. Our service coordinators assist our residents in health care management, transportation, nutrition, smoking cessation, fitness, dementia support, fall prevention, and wellness as well as assisting residents in personal needs when necessary. Our service coordinators find outside organizations and volunteers who provide resources, money, time, and education which allow our seniors to age in place. There is a great return on investment for this program and the dollars that the government puts into the program are returned three-fold in savings on things like Medicare and Medicaid, and local funds expended on unnecessary ambulance and fire calls. Additionally, service coordinators prevent evictions which can be devastating to an elderly person and balloon operating costs for housing operators.
“On the personal side, our service coordinators allow our residents to have a quality of life they otherwise would not experience. The programing that results in better health lifestyles provides for reduced falls, preventive health screening and timely treatment of disease before becoming debilitating. The program prevents large numbers of seniors from becoming prematurely institutionalized or in most cases, institutionalization at all. Service coordinators allow for the dignity of life our elderly residents deserve.
“So, we strongly and enthusiastically recommend and support the passing of the Expanding Service Coordinator Act and appreciate Representative Smith’s work to enhance this program.” – Ron Budynas, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Wesley Housing Corporation
“As an agency that provides Resident Services to over 100,000 individuals in more than 39,000 homes, LifeSTEPS supports expanding Service Coordinator legislation. Not only do Service Coordinators save millions by providing much needed housing stabilization services to those in poverty, they are a lifeline to saving billions in healthcare costs. Service coordination has proven that with proper support seniors can maintain their dignity and prevent premature placement in a Skilled Nursing Facility. Seniors want, need, and deserve to maintain their home and age in place.” – Beth Southorn, Executive Director, LifeSTEPS
“On behalf of The Massachusetts Association of Resident Service Coordinators in Housing (MARSCH) we strongly endorse your legislation to expand funding for Service Coordination.” –Donna L. Coyle, President, Massachusetts Association of Resident Service Coordinators
“Once again, I am writing in support and to endorse the Expansion of the Service Coordinator Act. HumanGood began employing resident service coordinators in our affordable housing communities in the 1990’s beginning with approximately 5 resident service coordinators. With our continued growth, we now employ 70+ resident service coordinators in almost all of our 100+ communities in California, Washington, Oregon and Pennsylvania. As an organization, we have come to know resident services as an invaluable component of property management. Our services team not only links our residents to supportive and medical services, but also provide case management to our most vulnerable population. The program has evolved in the last fifteen years where the demands of the health and well-being of our residents has grown substantially and we are striving to meet their needs so they can continue to age in place. Necessary training on entitlement programs, dementia, mental health conditions, adult protective services, hospitalization and nursing home admission, mitigating isolation are some of the required trainings that enable our service coordinators to be equipped to empower residents to live independently and increase self-sufficiency. Resident services provides a positive financial impact by reducing turnovers, evictions, property damage and helps address compliance issues. We continue to find creative ways to expand our partnerships with county providers, educational institutions, health care providers to allow us to develop new approaches and resources to address our residents’ needs.” – Linda Coleman, VP of Resident Services, HumanGood
“I am the President of MJ Housing & Services, an Affordable Housing company that services over 20K seniors and families in 16 states. We are fully endorsing this bill which is scheduled to be reintroduced next week. This additional funding will help aid in the independence of such a vulnerable population. Seniors, in particular, are living longer and yet our systems are not growing equally to sustain their needed services. It is with enthusiasm that on behalf of MJ Housing & Services that I offer our endorsement. Thank you for leading the charge in the much-needed area.” – Charles A. Brown, President, MJ Housing Services
“On behalf of the New Hampshire Association of Professional Service Coordinators, I am writing to inform you our Association’s support and endorsement of the Expanding Service Coordinators Act.” – Karen Graveline, President, New Hampshire Association of Professional Service Coordinators
“On behalf of Embrace Living Communities, we fully support the Expanding Service Coordinators Act. Embrace Living Communities is an owner/manager of 30 affordable housing properties in Illinois, Missouri and Florida which serve 2,500 older adults and persons with disabilities. We are fortunate to have at least one service coordinator in assisting residents within our communities – however, it is not nearly enough. Service coordinators are needed in more areas to assist vulnerable populations and expanding this opportunity is desperately needed.” – Jennifer Truppa, Director of Social Services and Quality Assurance, Embrace Living Communities
The Expanding Service Coordinators Act would make critical investments and reforms to service coordinator programs to aid those in federally assisted housing. Specifically, the bill would:
- Authorize an additional $100 million each year for five years to the Multi-Family Housing Service Coordinator program.
- Authorize a total $45 million each year for five years for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency service coordinator program.
- Authorize a new $37 million grant program through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award 150 grants to eligible properties to fund service coordinators.
- Establish a training set aside to improve capacity and retention of service coordinators.
- Extend qualification for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to service coordinators.
- Direct GAO to report on the availability and work of service coordinators in rural areas.
Service Coordinators are a critical and underfunded resource in federally assisted housing. They help individuals navigate a complex network of social services that can make a difference in an individual’s ability to thrive. It is crucial now more than ever to invest in this critical workforce.
A fact sheet for the Expanding Service Coordinators Act can be found here.