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The national contractors have served an essential role of assisting local sponsors in establishing these programs. As the program is expanded, there is a continuing need for such technical assistance from the national to the local level. Yet, the involvement of national contractors should be phased out as local sponsors acquire the capacity to adequately administer these programs. Following that development, the national contractors should serve as program monitors/ evaluators to make sure that Federal funds are effectively distributed to older workers.
Specifically, the transition from national contractors to local prime sponsors could be accomplished by slowly shifting Federal monies from the national to the local level over the next three fiscal years. The legislation could require a three-year limit on national administration of new individual local programs, but also mandate a continuing monitoring role for national contractors.
Thank you for this opportunity to clarify these points in our testimony. We look forward to assisting the Subcommittee in any way we can in extending and expanding the Older Americans Act to serve the needs and potentials of the nation's older citizens.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Mr. Bell.
Mr. BELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ossofsky, I recognize that money is a problem for the elderly, and I realize that many desire increased money for this legislation. Can anything be done in this bill to help our program without new dollars?
Mr. OssorSKY. Is it possible for us to continue to survive without new bread? If we stand still as new older people come into the ranks and as new services and expectations are aroused on the part of the public and we try to correct inadequate funding in the past, it seems to me there is no way we can adequately meet the expectations and needs of older Americans without new resources.
I would be fooling you and myself and the public at large if I told you we could provide the same level of services with the same dollars. Indeed, in the nutrition programs, the cost of food, the cost of staff, the cost of transportation, the cost of fuel to bring people to the meals are all going up, so that simply standing still means we are retrogressing. Mr. BELL. Are you saying "no" then to that question?
Mr. OssOFSKY. Yes.
Mr. BELL. My next question that one would ask is this. Will money alone solve the senior citizens problem? I would say that your answer would be "yes" to that?
Mr. OssOFSKY. Well, no; my answer to that is "no" also. Money alone will not do it, but without money, nothing will be done.
Mr. BELL. Then let me turn the question around. What can be done without money?
Mr. OssOFSKY. What can be done without money is nothing. What I am saying is, without money you can't get a thing done.
Mr. BELL. You can't have it both ways.
Mr. OssOFSKY. I intend to have it both ways, and I think Congress must have it both ways. There are things we must do in addition to providing money. If you are saying, "Are there things we can do?"
Mr. BELL. Bear in mind, I said, "Can anything be done in this bill to help our senior citizens without new dollars?" and your answer was, "No."
"Will money alone solve the senior citizens' problems?" Your answer must be, "Yes";
Mr. OssoFSKY. No, sir. What I am saying in addition to what we have now, we have to expand services and that means increased costs. Secondly, money alone is not the answer. We need things in attitude, changes in prices, changes in understanding capacities of older people. Mr. BELL. Don't they all add up to money?
Mr. OSSOFSKY. Not in every instance, no.
Mr. BELL. Then what could we do without money? That is what I asked, what could we improve without money?
Mr. OssOFSKY. Well, there are some things we can do that do not cost great deals of money. Congress, for example, can see to it the existing budget is so reallocated that priorities for people to maintain ourselves from an internal crash is greater than an illusion we are faced with an external attack. That is one thing Congress can do.
As far as older Americans are concerned, we can see to it we build into all existing programs an understanding for older people to serve the community and the Nation as well. We need to see that we value those things that older people have to offer.
Now, can there be programs to bring that into effect without funding? Very few.
Mr. BELL. Well, we have a very strict budget crisis in the Nation as a whole, as you know. You say you don't want to raise false hopes by not having money to back up the legislative ideas in this bill. I say we also cannot authorize moneys that will not be appropriated. That is even a more bitter false hope, is it not?
Mr. OssOFSKY. Well, Congressman, it seems to me we have to see to me we have to see to it that the Congress itself plays a more active role in the whole appropriation system, indeed that older people play a more active role in the appropriation system. I agree it would be disastrous for this committee to simply put authorizations in which are not appropriated. I think the committee has to start seeing to it that the appropriations features are carried out.
Mr. BELL. Mr. Ossofsky, I might agree with you on all the things you want that are desirable and may be necessary, but we don't, at the same time, want to authorize something that is way out of sight and everybody starts talking about it and thinks they are going to get it.
Mr. BRADEMAS. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. CORNELL. No questions.
Mr. MILLER. No questions.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Finally, we are pleased to hear from another old friend of the subcommittee, the distinguished former Commissioner on Aging, John B. Martin, now legislative consultant for the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons, accompanied by Peter Hughes, legislative representative.
Mr. Martin, you can see what the clock says and I would suggest, if you can, summarize.
STATEMENT OF JOHN B. MARTIN, LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT, NATIONAL RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS, ACCOMPANIED BY PETER HUGHES, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE
Mr. MARTIN. Yes, I will.
Mr. BRADEMAS. I think we are going to have to encourage our witnesses to learn the style of the House of Representatives where the speaker says "The gentleman is recognized for 3-minutes" rather than following the style pursued in the other body. Could you summarize, or you can let us put questions to you, whichever you prefer.
Mr. MARTIN. Let me speak briefly.
Mr. BRADEMAS. All right, thank you.
Mr. MARTIN. I would like to speak briefly about three things: One, what should be done with regard to the Older Americans Act? Two, what should be done with regard to title IX? Three, what should be done with regard to the Federal Council on Aging's study on allotments?
Let me say, first of all, that we-that I lived very closely with this act for a number of years and we are now in motion, in effective motion on both the title III program for social services and the title VII program for meals for older people.
In addition, the Administration on Aging has gone forward very effectively with development of an information and referral program and with research and training. I think that it is highly desirable that that act be renewed in its present form, that we not change the statutory base under which these programs are operating, particularly because the area agency program under title III is just developing.
You have a whole area of new relationships there. It seems to me that further time to analyze and evaluate the results of programs is highly desirable. So that we would recommend that the act be reenacted with an authorization probably in terms of simply such sums as may be necessary, which will enable the Congress to determine in due course, the appropriating committees, that is, determine what level of appropriation should be provided.
Second, with regard to title IX you had considerable testimony this morning. We are working with the other national contractors on that program. We think it is highly necessary that the program be carried on, that there be a categorical older workers program which can be made use of. That program, however, ought to stay in the Labor Department where we have at the working level sympathetic cooperation and where we think it can be properly developed. However, we are deeply depressed at the elimination of or attempted rescission made by that act, that title, and we feel it is absolutely essential that for the welfare of older people, in this critical period when work opportunities are rapidly disappearing, that title IX be carried forward and properly funded.
Finally, we would like to recommend to the committee that it examine with care the study which the Federal Council on Aging made of the whole question of allotments, allotments under the Older Americans Act and, in particular, the recommendation that there be a factor added to the present allotment formula, that factor being the number
or numbers of 60-plus poor in the country as well as the factor of 60-plus population.
The reason for that is we believe that since resources are limited, that the act should be aimed at those who are most vulnerable and that the addition of this factor in the allotment formula would bring that about.
Mr. Chairman, that is a very abbreviated summary of my testimony, which is available in printed form, and I am happy to be here to answer questions at this time.
[The prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN B. MARTIN OF THE NATIONAL RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am John Martin, legislative consultant for the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. I am here this morning with Mr. Peter Hughes of the Legislative Division and Mr. Glenn Northup, who administers the operation mainstream and title IX programs for us.
We are glad to have an opportunity to testify at this time since the authorizations in the Older Americans Act will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. With respect to authorizations for 1976 and beyond, we are hopeful that the Congress will extend these for another 3 years and hopeful also that the authorizations will reflect the need for steady expansion of these programs. At the present time, none of them constitutes a national program in the sense of providing services or other resources sufficient to meet the needs of all older Americans. We would urge that the authorization for fiscal year 1976 and beyond be provided as "such sums as may be necessary." If the authorization can be provided in this form the appropriating committees can make a judgment at the time of appropriation as to the need for maintaining the program on a plateau or providing for additional funds. This seems particularly necessary at a time like the present when the extent of other demands on the Government fiscal resources are as yet undertermined.
This has been a year of extensive activity under the provisions of the 1973 amendments to the Older Americans Act. In the face of vetoes and delayed appropriations, the title III program providing social services for older persons and the nutrition program of meals for older people have both finally gotten underway on a national basis. This has not been without some grinding of wheels and clashing of gears, as might be expected with any new program going into nationwide operation. Nevertheless, both programs have moved forward in spirited fashion and today we have programs for the older portion of our population both in the social services area and in the nutrition area operating on a broad national basis. Complimentary to both these programs is the information and referral program which is now operating under title II of the Older Americans Act. This program, of course, is not an end in itself but a device for making other programs, either those of the Administration on Aging or of other agencies, more fully available to those persons to whom they would be of the most value.
Because these programs have been in operation for such a short period of time, the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons believe that it would be a mistake to substantially change the ground rules at this time. This is especially true of the title III program which involves the development of a new set of relationships between the State agencies on aging and the area agencies on aging. This relationship is beginning to grow in a fruitful manner, but certainly requires additional time for further development. Without saying that these programs are as good as they can be, we are of the opinion that the present statutory provisions should not be changed at this time. We feel that there are many aspects of this State-local relationship which will iron themselves out as the program moves forward and will be resolved before the end of the next 3-year period. Careful evaluation during the next 3 years will enable us to determine whether there are rough spots in the program which still need to be corrected or whether the programs are operating in the way we desire. In the meantime, we find the growing strength of the area agencies at the local level in their activity as
advocates for the elderly to be an exciting development. The elderly, we believe, are better served than ever before by having a local agency which can promote their interests and at the same time do much to pull together and coordinate the many existing resources and to help create resources where they do not now exist.
We feel that a laudable start has been made at establishing information and referral services in each community which will make accessible to older persons throughout the country information as to where they can find solutions to their problems. One of the essential parts of any good information and referral program is careful followup of referrals and assistance in completing them. The system is still too new for us to have developed data by which the efficiency of the system now being established can be evaluated. Analysis and evaluation are required before we can know whether the system is working the way it is intended. Again we think that the program is still too new to adequately evaluate it and that more time is needed before any change in the rules is contemplated. We await with considerable interest the first reports on the success with which this program is operating in the various parts of the country. Certainly, as a link between the individual needing help and community social service resources, it is an essential part of any effective social service system.
Title V of the Older Americans Act provides for the development of multipurpose senior centers. To this date there has been no funding for this program and it has accordingly never gotten underway. However, the new Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 does make provision for the construction of senior centers. The act provides that a community development program assisted under title I of the act may include "the acquisition, construction, reconstruction or installation of public works, facilities, and site or other improvements including *** senior centers * * *." The provisions of the act are too new to have produced construction of this nature, but there is authority for a local community to use the act for this purpose and substantial amounts of money are available for implementing it if a community so desires. In the absence of funding for title V we are hopeful that local communities will take advantage of this provision. However, we believe title V should be retained until it is clear that the need for senior centers will be met by the new Housing Act.
Another area of concern relates to employment of older workers during this present period of high inflation. As a part of operation mainstream, the NRTAAARP senior community service aides project, which was begun in 1969 as a demonstration program, has expanded since that time and now includes 32 project sites in 18 States with an authorized enrollment of 1,775 persons. The average age of enrollees is 66 plus. Sixty-six percent are white, 33 percent black with a 10-percent Spanish-speaking enrollment since 1972. The numbers also include Indians and Orientals. Fifteen percent of the monthly enrollment are physically handicapped and we have retrained also a large number of exoffenders. Since the program began in 1969, well over 5,000 people have been enrolled.
Our placement rate of enrollees into unsubsidized employment is at present 49 percent. During the past twelve-month period we have placed 881 enrollees in permanent jobs. These enrollees are dependable, conscientious and completely dedicated to their work for the host agency. There is no question that it is better to have these men and women working and earning small wages than to have them on relief. They are employed only if they are in the poverty category and have poor employment prospects. Operation Mainstream and Title IX are the only programs which will make sure that they have an opportunity to earn a modest living. The Labor Department advises that Operation Mainstream is to go out of existence on June 30, 1975.
Under the 1973 Amendments to the Older Americans Act, Title IX was established to give statutory form to the older workers program. The Senior Community Service Employment Program was funded in July of 1974 and is now operating in eleven states where we have some 300 enrollees which represents about 50 percent of our total authorized enrollment. Within the next few weeks we will have reached a full enrollment of 636 and will have a waiting list of more than this authorized number.
In the meantime, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act has been passed and the administrators of the Act have taken the position that it contains sufficient incentives for prime sponsors so that an older worker program can be worked out on a state and local basis without the categorical approach which uses national organizations to develop older worker programs under Operation Mainstream and Title IX.