Do you know a senior that needs some support? Perhaps they would do better with assisted housing such as a Personal Care Home or Assisted Living? Perhaps they would, but perhaps the monthly cost of a Personal Care Home exceeds $3,400 per month and is out of their reach? In York County, more than 17% of York County residents age 65 or older have a monthly income of less than $1500. We certainly have a math problem. Options are very limited for those without resources and hard earned savings erode quickly.
Pennsylvania has a program built to help very low-income individuals needing care. Using a combination of the resident’s income and a portion of federal and state dollars, there is a limited stipend available for Personal Care Homes or Assisted Living Residences. Unfortunately, the “stipend” amounts to only $36.31 per day for the Personal Care Home or Assisted Living Residence and this rate has not increased since 2006. Is it any wonder that very few providers are willing to provide care for that rate? Individuals that qualify for this assistance find it nearly impossible to find a room.
The number of these low-income rooms has decreased significantly across the state but has reached a critical level in York County. Ten years ago, York County had availability for 179 low income residents, today that number is 59.
The ALPHA project (Alliance for Low Income Personal Care Home Advancement) is a community response to support those homes that remain dedicated to serving our community’s low-income residents. Six volunteer action committees support particular areas of need that range from volunteer and resource recruitment to medical and behavioral health training. All skill sets are needed. Donations to support building maintenance and personal needs of the residents are also needed. This is where ALPHA fits in. We’re a group of Senior Care and Healthcare professionals that are trying to bridge the gap in what is available and what is needed. We’re betting on strong community involvement to make a difference. Could you help us? Whatever your time and talents are, we could use your help! Contact us at the email below or our Facebook Page – www.Facebook.com/YorkCountyALPHAProject.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Dianna Benaknin, MSW. Dianna is the ALPHA Project Director for the York Area Housing Group and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.