Page images
PDF
EPUB

When this legislation was first drawn, Chicago suggested that any city of a certain population or concentration of the elderly should automatically be designated an area agency on aging. Experience has only confirmed us in this belief. Better to have the expense of more area agencies on aging, if they will survive. If they are made agencies of our cities, they will survive, because our cities will survive and will, one day again, I believe even prosper.

Therefore, we believe the exception in title III, section 304(a)(1) of the Older Americans Act, permitting cities that would otherwise qualify as area agencies, to be swallowed up by a geographically larger area agency, should be struck.

It has created difficult problems in many places, such as Los Angeles. We recommend the kind of simple straightforward formula used in the manpower legislation, which allows any city of 100,000 population to qualify as a prime sponsor for manpower programs.

I think that the financial participation of State governments bears study and revie!', far more critical than anything yet undertaken or reported. You now have a situation in which city offices on aging of larger size, sophistication and complexity are reporting to, being monitored and supposedly evaluated by State offices on aging that are barely staffed to function, and are funded only by title III and title VII funds and the minimum amount of State dollars necessary to access the maximum amount of Federal funds.

This is an unhealthy situation which, understandably enough, creates resentments and tensions on both sides. A change in Federal policy could do much to alter this.

I suggest, for one thing, that when the financial effort of a city for its office on aging exceeds that of a State for its oflice on aging, independent of matching funds for titles III and VII, the city should automatically become an area agency on aging reporting to and funded directly by the Administration on Aging, on the same direct grant, per capita basis as the State.

In additional important argument is the need to provide incentive for State and local governments to do more in the field of aging, and to reward that effort when it takes place. [An opposition alderman in Chicago's city council argued against our office's 1975 budget increase on the grounds that aging was a national problem and more properly a concern of the State and Federal Governments.]

The National Information and Resource Clearing Ilouse for the Aging must be made a reality. It takes far too much effort at present to track down information in aging essential for thoughtful planning.

The Congress should set specific dates for implementation of the Clearing Ilouse and for reports on progress. We need also to write into law the power to command age-related data from Government agencies.

My office is trying to complete a study on the older worker and related manpower programs to assist me as chairman of a Task Force on Older Workers of Chicago's Manpower Planning Council. A request to the Manpower Administration of the Department of Labor for information on older workers served by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in the State of Illinois, brought this reply:

We share your interest in the employment of older workers and the concern for this group as participants in CETA. The guidelines and structure of CETA grants does not require a break-out by age category of the local population serverl. Such individuals, however, are included in groups such as "heads-ofhousehold, minorities, veterans, welfare recipients and former manpower trainees.” In the absence of any such age break-out, it is impossible to provide you any projection of CETA funds allocated to the older worker category in the State.

We have been seeking for several years, with equal vigor and similar lack of success, to secure age-related information on social services provided through Federal funds made available to the State of Illinois. A recent letter from the Illinois Department of Public Aid advised:

Costs for social services are accumulated within each State agency by the type of service delivered rather than by category of eligibility, so it is not possible to accurately segregate social service reimbursement for services to the aged at this time.

Without this information, planning for use of title III social services funds cannot be truly effective. I think this becomes a real concern now with the passage of title XX of the Social Security Act.

In fact, planning in general for the elderly cannot succeed without access to full and current data on all services, recorded and gathered to be of maximum utility to those who have planning responsibilities in aging.

I also would like to submit for the record & resolution of our Planning Council on Aging in Chicago which met yesterday morning as I was leaving to come to Washington.

The social services committee of that council introduced a resolution which was adopted. The pertinent part of it asks again that the State office on aging and area offices on aging participate in the department of State plan for use of title XX funds for the elderly with review power prior to submittal to the Federal Government.

I would like to offer this for the record. [The resolution follows:]

RESOLUTION FROM SOCIAL SERVICE COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CHICAGO

PLANNING COUNCIL ON AGING JANUARY 30, 1975 The Chicago Planning Council on Aging of the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens welcomes the enactment of the Social Services Amendments of 1974, the new Title XX of the Social Security Act, and advocates the development of a State plan for the use of funds that will include a comprehensive service package for the elderly :

Whereas the number of older citizens are increasing both in real numbers and percentage of the total population as witnessed in the City of Chicago where from 1940 to 1970 the number of people over 65 years of age increased from 197.079 or 5.8% of the population to 355,298 or 10.5% of the population :

Whereas many of the older citizens are living on fixed incomes with inflation reducing their purchasing power and thus their self-sufficiency;

Whereas many older citizens are vulnerable to physical limitations associated with the later years of the aging process;

Whereas the elderly citizens of the City of Chicago have expressed service needs in the Chicago Needs Assessment Surveys of Older People and the Vulnerable Elderly :

Whereas Senior Central, Services to Impaired Aged and Title III projects have demonstrated the great need and utilization of social services by the elderly in the City of Chicago;

Whereas available resources for the elderly have been tapped, indexed and coordinated for the use to the greatest extent possible by the City's older citizens;

Whereas many gaps in service still exist for the elderly of Chicago; Noic, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Illinois Department of Public Aid, which has lead responsibility for development of the State Plan, allocate funds for the elderly in proportion to their population;

That the elderly residents of Chicago be allocated a share of the social service funds in proportion to their total number in the State;

That the Illinois Department on Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging participate in the development of the state plan for the use of these funds for the elderly with review power prior to submittal to the Federal Government; That this plan contain a comprehensive package of services including:

Home care (home help, homemaking, chore service and home health).
Casework counseling.
Group care (day care, drop-in centers).
Services to reduce isolation.
Special transportation for the elderly.
Home delivered meals.

Information and referral; That the Area Agencies on Aging, Nutrition Projects, and community based programs serving the elderly have direct access via referral to these services for the elderly ;

That the broadest interpretation of eligibility be used for determining recipients of these services (i.e. clients earning 80% of the median income of a family of four in the State) ;

That services be purchased from existing and new social service agencies at prices commensurate to the costs actually incurred by agencies in the delivery of service. Approved : January 30, 1975.

Mr. AHRENS. We believe that administration of community service employment funds is not a proper task for national organizations in aging, but more properly one that belongs to State offices and area agencies on aging. We believe that the State and area agency on aging should have specified roles in State and local manpower planning councils.

In my view the foster grandparent program is not a volunteer program, but rather one of community service employment for lowincome elderly. I objected the last time I appeared before this committee, and I still object today, to the use of language in a way that does not reflect truth and thus succeeds in distorting reality. These are not volunteers. These are low-income elderly in need of employment.

The foster grandparent program belongs back in the AOA, instead of ACTION, and so do the community service employment programs now administered by the Department of Labor, unless some other way can be achieved of relating planning and administration of community service employment programs to State and area offices on aging.

We believe that specific sums of money should be authorized and appropriated for all titles of the Older Americans Act.

We have come to understand that the practical result of the phrase such sums as may be necessary” is no funds at all. It is misleading in the extreme to have such important programs as multidisciplinary centers of gerontology called for in title IV C or the multipurpose senior centers of title V, simply carried on the books, if the intention is not to fund them.

We believe in all of the programs called for in the Older Americans Act, a good reflection of what the elderly proposed at the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, and we believe they should all be funded.

We would like to enter into the record a document we have prepared on proposed specific revisions to the Older Americans Act that also includes six requests for clarification of title III regulations promulgated by the Administration on Aging.

48-087-75

-14

I will mention only one of them now, the need for clarification on criteria of eligibility, to say this: “We cannot long continue to provide programs that offer unlimited eligibility, with finite resources to fund them.”

When 3,000 people a day are served in Chicago's title VII nutrition program and that level was reached last year—we were at the limit of our Federal grant and city matching funds. The city's cash was $125,000. The city budget for 1975 gives me an additional cash appropriation of $521,000 to buy food and transportation for the elderly, sufficient to serve 4,000 people a day, we had reached 3,900 last week, but whom do we turn away first, when these funds run out and the four thousandth person is served?

There are realities to face and difficult problems to resolve as we move to strengthen our programs for the elderly. We have come to respect many of our colleagues in the Administration on Aging. Even as we differ with them and are sharply critical of this administration's unbelievable negative proposals on the welfare of the elderly, we acknowledge the individual professionalism and personal concern for our older people of many who work in the Administration on Aging.

Most of all, our respect is won by the congressional committees and staff, whose professionalism and concern is coupled with the indispensable factor of leadership.

Considering the unfortunate negative attitude that the national administration has evidenced toward the elderly, that leadership becomes even more important. Chicago stands ready to help in any way it can in the efforts needed to insure a better life for our Nation's older people and, thereby, for us all.

I know I speak also for the cities of the Nation represented in the Urban Elderly Coalition, who share the sentiments and will also share the work.

Thank you.

[Prepared statement follows:] PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT J. AHRENS, DIRECTOR, CHICAGO MAYOR'S OFFICE

FOR SENIOR CITIZENS Mr. Chairman and Committee Members: I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you again to discuss briefly some of our legislative concerns as they affect programs for older Americans. Mayor Daley joins me in thanking you for your invaluable leadership in behalf of our nation's senior citizens.

As do you, in Chicago, we recognize the needs of the elderly as a priority issue of public policy. With your permission, I would like to enter two documents into the record of this hearing, namely, the recent report I made to the Finance Committee of Chicago's City Council and the highlights of the 1975 City of Chicago budget, subsequently adopted, as they relate to programs for senior citizens.

We were the recipients in 1971 of a $3.6 million dollar 3 year grant from the Administration on Aging, for a research and demonstration program in social services and nutrition, to establish a model system of comprehensive and coordinated services for the elderly. Mayor Daley announced acceptance of that award at a hearing of a House subcommittee in November 1971. I discussed our goals at that same hearing, and promised our best efforts to both AoA and the Congress.

It is with little pleasure that I am able to say to the Congress today, that we have established a system of comprehensive and coordinated services for the elderly of Chicago, that it works, that we will be reporting on it to the nation in a 3 day research utilization conference in Chicago, and that we are delighted

that the conference will open on February 23 with an address by the Chairman oľ this subcommittee. We will make the additional materials being printed for that conference-a chapter, book and verse on the "how-to" o establishing such à system-available to this committee as we receive them from the printer.

Sow to issues and problems that should be considered in renewal of the Older Americans Act and related legislation.

I think you could do much to strengthen the involvement of local governments in aging. Present area agencies on aging seem to be a collection of newly created private entities, parts of Councils of Governments, multi-county urban and rural groupings, some arrangements I don't even understand and a few—too few-of the nation's cities.

In my view, not many of these will survive any critical drop in Title III funds and even now must spend an inordinate amount of time and effort on simple survival problems. I am concerned about the continuity of area agencies for the aging and securing the maximum involvement and participation of local governments. The Administration on Aging has allowed itself to be drawn into the fallacy of thinking, too often, that it is now really dealing wib 3 levels of government--federal, State and local. With a few exceptions, this just isn't so.

When this legislation was first drawn, Chicago suggested that any city of a certain population or concentration of the elderly should automatically be designated an area agency on aging. Experience has only confirmed us in this belief. Better to have the expense of more area agencies on aging, if they will survive. If they are made agencies of our cities, they will survive, because our cities will survive and will, one day again, I believe, even prosper.

Therefore, we believe the exception in Title III, Sec. 301 (a) (1) of the Older Americans Act, permitting cities that would otherwise qualify as area agencies, to be swallowed up by a geographically larger area agency, should be struck. It has created difficult problems in many places, such as Los Angeles. We recommend the kind of simple straightforward formula used in the Manpower legislation, which allows any city of 100,000 population to qualify as a prime sponsor for manpower programs.

I think that the financial participation of State governments bears study and review, far more critical than anything yet undertaken or reported. You now have a situation in which city offices on aging of larger size, sophistication and complexity are reporting to, being monitored and supposedly evaluated by State offices on aging that are barely staffed to function, and are funded only by Title III and Title VII funds and the minimum amount of State dollars necessary to access the maximum amount of federal funds.

This is an unhealthy situation which, understandably enough, creates resentments and tensions on both sides. A change in federal policy could do much to alter this. I suggest, for one thing, that when the financial effort of a city for its office on aging exceeds that of a State for its office on aging, independent of matching funds for Titles III and VII, the city should automatically become an area agency on aging reporting to and funded directly by the Administration on Aging, on the same direct grant, per-capita basis as the State.

An additional important argument is the need to provide incentive for State and local governments to do more in the field of aging, and to reward that effort when it takes place. (An opposition alderman in Chicago's City Council argued against our Office's 1975 budget increase on the grounds that aging was a national problem and more properly a concern of the State and federal governments.)

The National Information and Resource Clearing House for the Aging must be made a reality. It takes far too much effort at present to track down information in aging essential for thoughtful planning. The Congress should set specific dates for implementation of the Clearing House and for reports on progress. We need also to write into law the power to command age-related data from government agencies.

My Office is trying to complete a study on the older worker and related manpower programs to assist me as Chairman of a Task Force on Older Workers of Chicago's Manpower Planning Council. A request to the Manpower Administration of the Department of Labor for information on older workers served by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in the State of Illinois, brought this reply

"We share your interest in the employment of older workers and the concern for this group as participants in CETA. The guidelines and structure of CETA grants does not require a break-out by age category of the local population served. Such individuals, however, are included in groups such as 'heads-of-household,

« PreviousContinue »