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Improving Home and Community-Based Services Infrastructure

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by Anne Montgomery

What it would take to harness the energies of states to take big leaps forward in key areas – housing supports, transportation supports, workforce supports, family caregiver supports, and employment supports for individuals with disabilities?

The answer is, policy that motivates Members of Congress to organize funding and a framework to help make infrastructure investment a reality! And in that regard, it’s good news that an issue brief, Improving Home and Community-Based Infrastructure: A Policy Proposal, has just been published by the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

HCBS Infrastructure Brief 10.21.19

The thesis of the issue brief – and of evolving policy that is now being discussed in both the House and the Senate — is that what we most need to do in order to get ready for 2030 — when more than a fifth of all Americans will be 65 and older – is to make a one-time serious investment in state capacity in order to get ready. This investment needs to be in the form of a great deal more accessible housing; much more extensive networks of accessible and affordable transportation for those who move around in wheelchairs; and a far more robust workforce of personal care assistants and other types of direct care workers – who will only stay in these jobs if there are meaningful career ladders and positions with benefits. We need to also make much more possible for family caregivers to provide voluntary assistance – which means regular respite and various kinds of ancillary support that is ongoing. And we need to make it possible for those with disabilities to work and to support themselves.

There’s yet another reason we need to build out this capacity – and that is, the health care system won’t work very well without it. It’s a bit like roads and bridges and sidewalks and curb cuts – infrastructure is what allows everything else to work.

We think that these are exactly the kinds of investments that Members of Congress from both parties and across the spectrum can readily understand the need for and get behind.

Stay tuned for more on this front!

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