Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the Administration for Community Living (ACL) will receive $150 million to increase the public health workforce’s disability and aging expertise and strengthen the collaboration with public health systems to support the health and safety of people with disabilities and older adults who are disproportionately affected during emergencies and disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. The aging and disability networks funded by ACL play essential roles in that work. These networks are the nation’s visible and trusted infrastructure providing health and wellness education and information, counseling, case management, community services, and guidance related to health and social needs, as well as information on how to access those supports in every local community in the country.
“This funding will allow our national network of over 20,000 community-based organizations to further assist in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and bring help to communities that need it most,” said Alison Barkoff, ACL’s Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging.
The funding will directly support wages and benefits for public health professionals within the disability and aging networks. These professionals provide a wide range of public health services and supports, including provision of culturally affirmative and linguistically accessible information, access assistance for vaccines and boosters, transition and diversion from high-risk congregate settings to community living, provision and connections to health and wellness programs, and activities that address social isolation and social determinants of health.
The networks and organizations eligible to receive public health workforce funding include:
- Independent Living Centers
- Independent Living Designated State Entities
- No Wrong Door Systems/Aging and Disability Resource Centers
- Paralysis and Limb Loss Resource Centers
- Protection & Advocacy Systems
- State Assistive Technology Programs
- State Councils on Developmental Disabilities
- State Health Insurance Assistance Programs
- State Units on Aging/Area Agencies on Aging
- Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership Programs
- Tribes and tribal organizations, and
- University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
“Our networks have a reach across states and into local communities across the county to assist people with disabilities and older adults who need support,” said Acting Administrator Barkoff. “These funds are part of our critical mission to support older adults and people with disabilities in their desire to live, work, and contribute to their communities and to make sure they have access to the supports they need during and after the pandemic.”