Committee: House Health and Government Operations
The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.
House Bill 251 creates grants for non-profit organizations to expand and establish aging-in-place programs for seniors. Included is funding for affordable transportation and home modifications to improve safety, mobility, and accessibility.
According to the Census Bureau, the older population is expected to continue to grow significantly in the future. The population age 65 and over has increased from 37.2 million in 2006 to over 49 million in 2016. People age 65 and over represented 15.2% of the population in the year 2016 but are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the population by 2040. The 85 and over population is projected to more than double from 6.4 million in 2016 to 14.6 million in 2040 (a 129% increase).
As a result of these sweeping demographic changes, meeting the housing-related needs of older adults will require a range of responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
The Conference supports programs that address the needs of our most vulnerable populations and promote the common good in Maryland. The Conference also recognizes that older adults overwhelmingly prefer to stay in their homes and communities as they age. Since this grant will be open to non-profit organizations who seek to modify homes, vehicles and programs to better meet the needs of our aging population, thus helping to address these needs, the Conference urges a favorable report on House Bill 251.