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Housing Opportunity Fund Could Hold Promise for Affordable Assisted Living

ALBANY, N.Y., March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director:

The Executive Budget proposed including a $400 million Housing Opportunity Fund to improve the availability of affordable and supportive housing statewide. These funds will be used to provide needed opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers and those in need of supportive services.

The program will be administered by the State of New York Mortgage Agency with the assistance of an advisory panel consisting of representatives from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Mental Health, and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

AARP strongly believes that a final state budget should include this program. However, it is imperative that this program should not be finalized until specific goals are developed for affordable assisted living projects for low- to moderate-income elderly.

AARP also recommends that the Department of Health and the State Office for Aging be included on the advisory panel that assists in administering projects that would receive this new infusion of resources. In addition, the new housing fund should promote "universal design" concepts, when possible. Universal design includes those features that enable people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the full use of their homes, thereby maintaining personal independence.

Assisted living is one the most desirable types of supportive housing for older persons, but it is largely unaffordable. Incorporating assisted living and universal design concepts within the Housing Opportunity Fund would provide unprecedented opportunities for all New Yorkers to age in place.

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