Arlington, VA – December 20, 2019 – Following enactment of H.R. 1865, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, to fund federal programs for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued this statement:
Meals on Wheels America commends Congress for passing, and the President for signing into law, the bipartisan Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, delivering much-needed funding increases to the nutrition programs that serve millions of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors annually. This action ends the months of uncertainty brought about by back-to-back temporary funding measures.
This spending package provides a $30 million increase to the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program over FY 2019 levels. By focusing on both the nutritional and social needs of seniors, the OAA Nutrition Program enables them to remain more healthy, safe and independent in their own homes and out of far more costly healthcare settings. This in turn provides both a moral and an economic benefit to individuals, communities and our nation, as a whole. Building on the longstanding bipartisan support that exists for the OAA and investing further in its programs and services, as reflected in this legislation, represents a significant step forward in solving the growing epidemics of senior hunger and isolation among a rapidly aging population.
The appropriations bill signed into law today also provides increases to a number of other federal funding sources that support the more than 5,000 senior nutrition programs across the country, including an increase in funding of $100 million and $15 million, respectively, for the Community Development and Community Services Block Grants. In addition, this legislation puts in place protections for several key policies that are critical to the operations of Meals on Wheels programs across the country, such as repealing the 21% unrelated business income tax (UBIT) on nonprofit parking and transit benefits, and extending important Medicaid programs for low-income seniors.
We thank those Members of Congress and their staff who have worked throughout the year to push for increased funding for senior nutrition programs, and we appreciate the leadership and hard work of House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs and Ranking Members for arriving at this bipartisan compromise.
Even with the gains realized through this legislation, though, there is still much to be done. We are eager to work with Congress and the Administration to build on the bipartisan and bicameral support for OAA – Congregate, Home-Delivered and the Nutrition Services Incentive Programs – and to continue to stave off the growing gap between seniors in need of services and seniors served. Millions of older adults in communities across the country remain threatened by hunger and isolation. Together, we can make investing in their nutritional and social needs a higher priority so that no senior is left behind.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603