Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is working to help seniors across metro Atlanta find affordable housing.
In a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing today, Sen. Ossoff raised concerns about the quality of senior housing in Acworth, Ga.
Last summer, residents of an assisted living facility in Acworth were given just three days to find a new place to live when the facility suddenly closed — putting a large burden on families.
“I frequently hear from constituents that when seniors can find affordable housing, that the difficulties that operators of, in particular, senior-oriented and assisted living facilities face in sustaining their business models can pose dire challenges for seniors seeking housing,” Sen. Ossoff said in the hearing. “At one facility in Acworth, Georgia, seniors were given just three days’ notice to vacate before the senior housing facility suddenly closed.”
Dr. Jennifer Molinsky, Project Director at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, and Shannon Guzman, Senior Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, cited the importance of finding housing options that work for seniors, regardless of their health circumstances.
Please find a transcript of the exchange below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “Next question please, for Dr. Molinsky and Ms. Guzman. I frequently hear from constituents that when seniors can find affordable housing that the difficulties the operators of, in particular, senior-oriented and assisted living facilities face in sustaining their business models can pose dire challenges for seniors seeking housing. At one facility in Acworth, Georgia, seniors were given just three days’ notice to vacate before the senior housing facility suddenly closed. The only assisted living facility that accepts Medicaid patients in Camden County, Georgia, closed last summer, giving residents just 30 days to find a new place to live. Please, Dr. Molinsky and Ms. Guzman, why is it so difficult for senior housing providers to stay in business? Dr. Molinsky?”
DR. MOLINSKY: “I was looking to Ms. Guzman. This is something I frankly haven’t studied, Senator. And I imagine that there’s a good deal of the costs of the health provision side, but I’m going to defer to Ms. Guzman.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Ms. Guzman?”
MRS. GUZMAN: “Thank you, Senator Ossoff. The business model of assisted living facilities I’m not very familiar with. However, when we think about the needs of older adults, and their housing choices, whether or not they have the option to move wherever they need to, depending on their certain circumstances, their health conditions. We need to have housing options that work for them, regardless of their circumstance, their health circumstances. So, what we want to see would be for older adults, because they say they want to remain in their homes and communities, to be able to access certain services in and around their home and community. So, to support them prior to having to go into a more institutional setting. So that they would not necessarily have to face difficulties finding a specific residential facility to move into and so that they can remain active and independent in their own communities.”