H.R. 782, THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT: TITLE V- COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION,

TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND

THE WORKFORCE

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

 

HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 19, 1999

 

 

Serial No. 106-40

 

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce


H.R. 782, THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT:

TITLE V-COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training and Life-Long Learning,

Committee on Education and the Workforce,

Washington, D.C.

Statement Of Marnie S. Shaul, Associate Director, Education And Employment Issues, U.S. General Accounting Offices, Washington, D.C. *

Statement Of Robert F. Mizerak, National Director, Seniors In Community Service Program, National Urban League, Inc., New York, NY *

Statement Of Andrea Wooten, President, Green Thumb, Arlington, Virginia *

Statement Of Clayton Fong, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific Center On Aging, Seattle, WA *

Statement Of Mary Ellen Saunders, Management Analysts, Division Of Services For Aging And Adults With Physical Disabilities, New Castle, DE *

Appendix A - The Written Statement Of Marnie S. Shaul, Associate Director, Education And Employment Issues, U.S. General Accounting Offices, Washington, D.C. *

Appendix B - The Written Statement Of Robert F. Mizerak, National Director, Seniors In Community Service Program, National Urban League, Inc., New York, NY *

Appendix C - The Written Statement Of Andrea Wooten, President, Green Thumb, Arlington, VA *

Appendix D - The Written Statement Of Clayton Fong, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific Center On Aging, Seattle, WA *

Appendix E - The Written Statement Of Mary Ellen Saunders, Management Analysts, Division Of Services - Aging And Adults With Physical Disabilities, New Castle, DE *

Appendix F - The Written Statement Of Gema G. Hernandez, D.P.A., Secretaary, Florida Department Of Elder Affairs *

Appendx G - The Written Statement Of Walter G. Hoefer, Director, New York State Officer For The Aging *

Table Of Indexes *

H.R. 782, THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT:

TITLE V-COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training and Life-Long Learning,

Committee on Education and the Workforce,

Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives McKeon, Barrett, Castle, Deal, Ehlers, Isakson, Martinez, Tierney and Kind.

Staff Present: Cindy Herrle, Professional Staff Member; Victor Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator; Michael Reynard, Media Assistant; Lynn Selmser, Professional Staff Member; Bailey Wood, Legislative Assistant; June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator; Cheryl Johnson, Minority Legislative Associate, Education; Mary Ellen Ardouny, Minority Legislative Associate, Education; and Roxana Folescu, Minority Staff Assistant, Education.

Mr. Barrett. [Presiding] The hearing of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training and Life-Long Learning will come to order.

My name is Bill Barrett, a member of the committee. Mr. McKeon, the chairman of the subcommittee, has been called away to a markup. A roll call vote has been requested, and he had to rush out and do his duty in that regard. So, I would like to share with the subcommittee and others in the room Mr. McKeon's opening statement.

Good afternoon.

As most of you know, this is the sixth and final hearing in what has become an informative series of bipartisan hearings on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Today, we have saved one of the best topics for last, Title V- the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

However, before we begin, I think it is important to note that, as we listen carefully to what each of the witnesses has to say about how the program is run and how it should be run, we should constantly ask ourselves, are we meeting the needs of our Nation's seniors and, if not, how can we do better?

In other words, whether we are talking about ensuring the equitable distribution of job slots, updating the hold harmless provision or instituting performance standards, what we are really talking about is providing low-income seniors with jobs.

I would like to yield to the ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. Martinez.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program has always been one of my favorite programs, and probably because I have seen it at work in my own district, particularly in the city of Montery Park, where I was the mayor. I would never have thought to see a program like this one, in which senior citizens serve, as patrolmen, almost like an active community watch. The seniors are actually trained by the police department and are responsible for duties that would otherwise consume many man-hours of the regular police force. These senior participants are doing it in a very effective way and have been doing it for a good number of years.

That program is run by one-of-a-kind organizations, not by the State. So I have seen how effective they can be. As a result, I am a strong supporter where initially I was one of these people who wondered why the States only got 22 percent of the funds while 78 percent of the money went to the 10 organizations.

Well, after studying this outstanding phenomena for a number of years, I now understand why and how, in every aspect they do a better job than the States do with the monies they get.

Having said that, I want to explain that it not only provides economically disadvantaged older Americans with a source of income and a sense of self-worth_ and if you donít believe me, look at the seniors wearing police uniforms and badges, it certainly does provide pride for them_ this also is a very needed service in the community.

 

The program has been working exceptionally well for over 30 years, and it provides a win-win situation for everyone involved. That is why I have never understood why some continue to call for a massive overhaul of the program.

We have an old saying around here, if it ainít broke don't fix it; and sometimes I don't think that we adhere to our own wisdom. As many of you are aware, the previous chairman and I often disagreed over the extent to which Title V should be altered. For instance, we had many lively discussions over the funding split. We had reached some accommodations in the last Congress, although the whole thing fell apart at the end.

However, I still believe that we are going to be able to, and now have a better chance of, reaching some agreement on it than we had then. The issue concerned the funding split between the national sponsors and the States, which, as currently set by appropriations language, is 78 percent and 22 percent respectively.

My opinion was, and it still remains, that any shift in funding should involve much deliberation, because any hasty change would certainly displace seniors currently participating in the program.

We were also able to reach common ground on the issue of performance standards. This is something that the organizations do not object to.

It is my understanding that most of the national sponsors and the States already meet the unsubsidized goals set by the Department of Labor. Nevertheless, the sponsors are not opposed to the performance standards that we had suggested during the last session of Congress. However they contend, and I agree, that these standards should not only take into account the special circumstances of certain sponsors and their enrollees, such as limited English-speaking ability and the low level of education attainment, but also we disagreed on the use of the other enrollee cost fund.

This fund provides program participants with things like training and transportation and other services necessary to gain employment. These services should not have to compete with equally necessary administrative costs, such as office space and telephone service.

Fortunately, this Congress I have had the extreme pleasure of working Chairman McKeon, with whom I agree on a number of matters. For instance, I think that the Chairman and I agree that this program, while highly successful, can be improved upon.

I also think it is safe to say that we agree that any changes to Title V should be made with great care and for good reason. There is no need to upset or displace the thousands of seniors currently participating in the program just for the sake of change. And in order to ensure that the changes that we make to Title V are well informed, we have solicited input from the Department of Labor and from program participants.

And we look forward to your input today. I hope that you will share with us your thoughts on what currently works well in the act and what we can do to improve upon it.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

Chairman McKeon. [Presiding.] Thank you, Mr. Martinez.

We have been informed that we will have a vote on the floor shortly. So, when that happens, we will have to leave, and we appreciate your patience with us.

Our witnesses are a good panel today. We have, first, Dr. Marnie Shaul, the Associate Director of Education and Employment Issues for the U.S. General Accounting Offices. Prior to joining the GAO, she was with the State of Ohio's Department of Development, where she led efforts in business and community development and international trade. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Ohio State University.

Then we will hear from Mr. Robert Mizerak, the National Director for Seniors in Community Service for the National Urban League, Incorporated. Mr. Mizerak has been with the National Urban League since 1971, where he has held the positions of Director of Program Operations and Deputy Director of Apprenticeship Outreach. Prior to that, he was with the Board of Fundamental Education, with a Master's Degree from Keene College. He currently is working on his postgraduate certificate in gerontology at Rutgers University.

And then Ms. Andrea Wooten, the President and CEO of Green Thumb, Inc. with a law degree from the University of the Pacific and a Bachelors of Science from Colorado State University. She spent 3 years in private practice with the firm of Orrick, Harrington & Sutcliffe in Sacramento, California. She also served as a clerk to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

And then Mr. Clayton Fong, the Executive Director of the Seattle-based National Asian Pacific Center on Aging. He has served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Public Liaison in the White House, Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs and as a marketing and media consultant.

And, finally, Ms. Mary Ellen Saunders, who I am not going to introduce because I understand Mr. Castle may be here. If he is not here when we get to you, I will introduce you. If he is here, being the former governor and your Congressman, he would like the pleasure of introducing you.

So we will begin with Dr. Marnie Shaul. You all understand the rules, how that green, yellow and red light work. We will put your total statement in the record. If you could contain your comments within 5 minutes, we would appreciate it. The green light runs for 4 minutes, the yellow for one minute, and then the red says time's up.

Chairman McKeon. We will hear first from Dr. Shaul. Thank you.

 

STATEMENT OF MARNIE S. SHAUL, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICES, WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

 

Ms. Shaul. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to assist you as you discuss the reauthorization of Title V of the Older Americans Act. For over 30 years, the Senior Community Service Employment Program known as SCSEP has been an important source of jobs for needy, elderly Americans.

Currently about 100,000 people annually work in subsidized community service jobs and are given an opportunity to acquire skills sufficient to leave the program for an unsubsidized job. My comments today are based on the findings from our 1995 report and additional work that we recently performed for the subcommittee.

In summary, we found that two separate legislative provisions result in the distribution of SCSEP funds among and within States that does not always match the distribution of the needy, elderly population. First, because the 1978 hold harmless provision guarantees that national sponsors can carry out the same level of activities today as they did in 1978, a majority of SCSEP funds are not responsive to changes in population that have occurred since 1978.

Second, although 55 percent of the funds over the 1978 appropriation were designated to go to States, this level of funding has never occurred because annually national sponsors are appropriated 78 percent of total program funds. This provision can create conditions whereby some areas within States can be overserved and underserved. Legislative action could correct both of these problems.

I would like to briefly elaborate on each of these points.

The hold harmless provision enacted as part of the 1978 OAA amendments and as interpreted by the Department of Labor guarantees that national sponsors can carry out on a State-by-State basis the same level of activity as they did in 1978. Because of this guarantee and because of the changes in population over the past 20 years, the distribution of positions today does not correspond to where the needy elderly live.

In program year 1998, 63 percent of program funds were subject to the hold harmless provision. To overcome this situation, the hold harmless provision could be modified in one of two ways. It could be amended to maintain the national sponsor's level of activities on a nationwide basis instead of the 1978 State-by-State basis or it could be repealed altogether.

Both options would allow all of SCSEP's resources to be targeted to the various States based on the most currently available data. However, repealing the provision would eliminate the guarantee to national sponsors.

The second legislative provision that affects the distribution of SCSEP resources is annual appropriation statutes that specify for 10 national sponsors collectively should receive 78 percent of total program funds. In 1978, it was envisioned that States would gradually begin playing a larger role in the program and would be responsible for ensuring a more equitable distribution of funds within their boundaries. States were to receive 55 percent of funds above the 1978 appropriation.

This provision has never been implemented. Because State agencies receive only 22 percent of current annual SCSEP funds, it is more difficult for them to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure an equitable distribution of all SCSEP positions within their States.

One option for more fairly distributing SCSEP positions within the States is to increase the percentage of funds dedicated to State governments. Had the 55 percent provision been in effect in program year 1998, the State's share of program funds would have increased to about 39 percent.

In conclusion, the SCSEP program continues to operate in the same manner as it has since 1978, even though the States where elderly Americans reside has changed over that time. This has resulted in a mismatch between where elderly, needy people live and where the subsidized jobs are provided. The matters for consideration by the Congress that we offered in 1995 could help solve this problem.

As I said, the Congress could amend or eliminate the hold harmless provision and increase the portion of SCSEP funds State governments receive. We believe these are still valid today.

While these represent major changes in SCSEP, if the changes are properly phased in over a period of time, States, national sponsors and program participants will benefit, because funds would be awarded to serve locations where needy older Americans live.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or members of the subcommittee might have.

 

See Appendix A For The Written Statement Of Marnie S. Shaul, Associate Director, Education And Employment Issues, U.S. General Accounting Offices, Washington, D.C.

 

Chairman McKeon. Thank you very much. Mr. Mizerak, please.

 

STATEMENT OF ROBERT F. MIZERAK, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, SENIORS IN COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE, INC., NEW YORK, NEW YORK

 

Mr. Mizerak. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and, more specifically, the Seniors in Community Service Employment Program, Title V.

The National Urban League has a distinguished 89-year record of combating racial injustices and securing employment opportunities for African Americans and other disadvantaged constituents.

Since 1978, the National Urban League, through a competitive bid process, has sponsored the Seniors in Community Service Program. This testimony reaffirms the important role Title V plays and should continue to play in providing low-income older Americans with job training and meaningful employment opportunities while helping to meet the social service needs of local communities across the country.

Those who enroll in the Title V program are the poorest of the poor among older Americans. Because of age, racial discrimination, deficient education, lack of skills or disabilities, the prospects for employment are grim for many of them. Tragically, many older African Americans, because of a long history of employment discrimination and underemployment, now receive little or no Social Security or pension benefits. They face the double jeopardy of age and race.

Older blacks are more than two times as likely to be unemployed than aged whites and nearly three times more likely to be poor than older whites. Seven out of 10, 71 percent, of older blacks are considered economically vulnerable because their income does not exceed twice the Federal poverty level. Fifty-seven percent of older black women living alone live in poverty, 57 percent. Twenty-one percent of the participants in our program rely exclusively on the modest earnings they receive from the subsidized training through Title V.

Mr. Chairman, these older Americans are desperate for the employment opportunity, because the income is needed. It is needed for their survival. They want to work, and they want to continue to contribute to their communities.

The Title V program provides its participants who are 55 years and older with important and needed community service experiences as well as job training, educational upgrading, counseling, which gives them a strong motivation and incentive to acquire new skills and assume useful roles in society. The program enables participants to reenter the work force and the mainstream of community life by combining meaningful work experience and skill acquisition in training assignments that help to fill community service gaps.

By merging the needs of the participants for job training and employment with the service needs of the community, the program contributes to the growth and well being of both.

Employers who hire these dependable, job-ready workers also reap the benefits of the program. Moreover, society at large benefits from productive, tax-paying workers.

In each of the 16 States and 24 local areas that the National Urban League programs operated, we have cooperative working relationships and linkages with the State Office on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, other State and local and Title V sponsors and with a cross section of other service delivery agencies.

The National Urban League and its local projects will continue to build upon these working relationships with local, State and national organizations to promote the equitable distribution of Title V slots and to assure coordinated services under the new Workforce Investment Act.

We have a few recommendations. We believe that the Title V program only needs fine-tuning. It doesn't need a major rehaul.

Under the authorization levels, we urge that the Title V program, which now serves less than 1 percent of the eligible senior population, we encourage Congress to increase the authorization level to 70,000 positions from its current level of 61,000.

We also urge that we better assure targeting of services to those most in need. We strongly urge that the Congress affirm that Title V is designed and implemented primarily to reach disadvantaged, low-income persons, particularly minorities, 55 years and older and that recruitment emphasize reaching those in the community most in need.

We also recommend that the income eligibility remain at 125 percent of poverty.

We also recommend that the 72 percent national sponsor and that the 22 percent State distribution be maintained.

The program has consistently exceeded all goals established by Congress and the Department of Labor, surpassing the 20 percent placement goal for the past 8 years. There is no basis, repeat no basis, for suggesting that the removal of the 78/22 percent distribution between the national sponsors and the State's sponsors will provide a greater incentive to administer positions in underserved areas.

In closing, Mr. Chairman and subcommittee members, we would like to state that the Title V program is a vital program that has earned unprecedented bipartisan support. Minorities and other poor adults who have been hardest hit by cuts in social service programs would be the major casualties of any assault on the Older Americans Act. As you reconsider or as you consider reauthorization, Mr. Chairman, please give serious consideration and priority to strengthening and expanding the program under the Older Americans Act that will equitably serve older Americans who are in most economic need.

Thank you.

See Appendix B For The Written Statement Of Robert F. Mizerak, National Director, Seniors In Community Service Program, National Urban League, Inc., New York, New York

Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Ms. Wooten

 

STATEMENT OF ANDREA WOOTEN, PRESIDENT, GREEN THUMB, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA

Ms. Wooten. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

Next year, Green Thumb will celebrate its 35th anniversary; and I am quite sure that when our founders established Green Thumb back in 1965, they had literally no idea that it would evolve into what has become the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Because of Green Thumb's instrumental role in establishing this program almost 35 years ago, we feel that we have a particular responsibility to make recommendations that will ensure that this program continues to be successful and to keep up with a rapidly aging population that is living longer and healthier lives than ever before.

During the hearing that you held in Nebraska, you heard from one of our participants, Mary Rucker, and she told you how important this program has been to her and the impact that it has made in her life. We have lots of Mary Ruckers across the country who will tell similar stories, and they do so much better than I. So, this morning, I would like to confine my remarks to what I consider to be probably the most controversial issues concerning Title V.

Even though Title V is one of the most successful programs I believe that the Department of Labor has ever operated, it can be improved. And there are a number of ways that it can be improved, but I think when we began to look at changes, we need to sort out what really needs to be changed and what needs to remain the same.

One of the areas that I would like to address is the 78/22 percent split in funding. The General Accounting Office has questioned the longstanding practice of allocating 78 percent of the funding to the nine private sector organizations that operate the program along with the U.S. Forest Service and 22 percent to the State government; and they have done so based on its perceived impact on the equitable distribution of positions within States and between States.

In doing so, they missed the point. They missed the key issue, I believe, and a reason why we are all here and that is what is going to make the most difference to the people that we are here to serve?

And let me focus on this just a minute, because I really think that this is where we need to be headed. The answer to this question is not to shift more money to the States, clearly. And the reason for that is you can just look at the facts. For the past 10 years in a row, the national private sector organizations have achieved the placement goal established for them; and, yet, the States have achieved that goal only 4 out of 10 years.

Now, what does this mean in real human terms? The bottom line is that an additional 33,000 people have been served because of the outstanding results produced by the private sector grantees. Those are real people with real impact on their lives.

To illustrate the wide gap in performance between the national private sector grantees and the States, just look at last year's results.

Last year, the States achieved a placement rate of 22.9 percent, compared to 31.9 percent produced by the private sector grantees. Once again, in human terms what this means is that an additional 4,400 people found jobs.

The disparity in results between the private sector and State grantees becomes even more apparent when you subtract out the results produced by the private sector grantees under contracts and subcontracts with the State agencies. According to our calculations, you can take between 1 and 2 percentage points in addition off the results produced by the State when you do that.

Now, let us just focus on another key indicator and that is the participant characteristics. You may say, well, if you are producing such great results, are you creaming, are you serving those most in need? Clearly not. The national sponsors have served those who are most economically disadvantaged, those who are older, those who are experiencing more disabilities, who represent more minority groups, who are less educated and who are inclusive of more veterans. Historically, that has been the case.

Their costs per participant has been a lot lower than the States. Their administrative costs are lower than the States, and they serve more of the general community as opposed to just focusing on aging services out in those local communities.

Given these results, you may say, well, why don't we give all the money to the national grantees? And that is not what I am suggesting for this important reason. We have a great public-private partnership with the States. Because of the limited role that the States play, we can do more with the funding. We bring strengths, each of us bring strengths to the program that we don't have alone.

Privatizing the entire program would certainly be consistent with the philosophy that government's role should be limited and that the traditional government functions that had been performed by this program over the years so well by the national private sector organizations should be performed by them in the future. But, again, the public-private partnership is a real strong reason for continuing the current allocation.

Mr. Chairman, I will conclude my remarks at this point by also just pointing out that I do not concur with the General Accounting Office's assumption that more money would necessarily be equitably allocated if a larger share of the funding went to the States. There are a number of reasons for the disparity in funding, and it is not a significant problem. Only 3 percent of the counties in this country are underserved; and for 3 percent of the counties, we are suggesting a wholesale shift potentially of massive amounts of funding from organizations that have historically performed excellently to State government; and I don't believe that that is the solution to that problem.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

See Appendix C For The Written Statement Of Andrea Wooten, President, Green Thumb, Arlington, Virginia

Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Mr. Fong.

 

STATEMENT OF CLAYTON FONG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC CENTER ON AGING, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

 

Mr. Fong. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I am honored and pleased today to have the opportunity to share the National Asian Pacific Centers on Aging's views on SCSEP.

NAPCA is the only national organization dedicated to the needs and concerns of Asian and Pacific Island elders in the United States. As an organization, we are committed to improving the access of our constituents to existing community health and social service programs for the aged. We serve as one of 10 national sponsors of SCSEP, and this really is a critical program to our serving elders in the country.

I just want to quickly make five points.

First of all, I want to emphasize that the Asian Pacific community really is the fastest-growing segment of the senior community in the country. If you look at the next 50 years, there will be an 80 percent growth in the aging population generally between 1990 and 2040; and you will see at the same time as the 80 percent growth in the population as a whole, you will see 1,000 percent growth in the Asian Pacific elder population. You will see similar growth numbers in the Hispanic community.

What does that mean? It means that we have a challenge not only to meet the needs of an aging baby boom and the graying of America, but we have a challenge to meet the needs of a changing face of the aging population and that is critically important.

I want to emphasize that, in order to do that, it is going to require that we put more emphasis on serving hard-to-reach populations, people with language barriers, people with cultural barriers, people that just don't reach things through the same one-size-fits-all process. And I want to emphasize that in the SCSEP program that really is the national sponsors that have done the best job of doing that.

We work across the U.S. government with regard to programs for the aged; and I will say in the case of Asian Pacific elders, we are underserved in just about every single area. This is one of the few areas where we have managed to do a pretty good job, and it is really because we have a national sponsor-type program to create, one, the economies of scale necessary in order to_imagine asking every single county to translate for 26 different subgroups in the Asian community, let alone the dialects and other things. If you don't create the critical mass, it is a structural impediment to our community being served. So that is an important part of it.

I want to also emphasize that, along those lines, if you want to meet those challenges, I believe that it is more about focusing more resources on the national sponsors, not less resources on the national sponsors.

A couple of other points I want to make. I want to address the issue of, whatever you do decide, there are two very small national sponsors, the National Indian Counseling on Aging and NAPCA. And it is really critically important that we have a minimum city mass. We try to run a national program on very limited resources. If we don't have a minimum size, in whatever you to decide to do, it makes it very difficult to effectively and efficiently run the program.

Thirdly, I want to address the issue of performance criteria. They are important, but we believe that it is important they be administratively determined for primarily one reason_flexibility. You need to have the flexibility to stand the test of time on any criteria, and that means when the economy is good, when the economy is bad. That means if you are in an area where the economy is not doing as well versus another. It also means if you serve a primarily harder to serve population, like those with limited English-speaking skills.

So it is very important. I will say if you do create some guidelines or what have you at the national level, I think it further important not to just emphasize placement alone. That does, in my opinion, encourage creaming.

I think, in addition to placement, you need to talk about those with the poorest employment prospects; and I think there needs to be some accountability along those lines.

Let me close by just emphasizing how important this program has been for Asian Americans and Asian Pacific elders. I just want to do it with three examples. Not only have they been critical in helping elders with an employment training program, but the impact in the aging network as a whole has been tremendous in terms of helping them to build the infrastructure, change the infrastructure, and bridge the gaps of language and other things.

For example, a senior center located right in the middle of the largest Cambodian population in the country in LA County was unable to reach a single Cambodian for many years until we were able to place a bilingual Cambodian speaking elder in that program and therefore bridge the gap of language in addition to culture.

I have to say, one of the quotes that one of the Cambodians said was that, you know, Cambodians just don't play bingo, just to make a point of the culture competency as well.

Two other examples, if you will indulge me. In the San Fernando Valley, which I understand includes a good part of the chairman's district, two SCSEP enrollees have taught ESL and citizenship assistance classes, and over 1,000 Korean elders have gone through that class, and 700 of them have realized the dream of becoming an American citizen. That is an intangible community service aspect to this program that you just cannot overemphasize.

The last one I want to say is there is a general_or a former vice minister of commerce in Vietnam was unable to find work in the United States until NAPCA placed him as an enrollee in a mental health center in Long Beach. The center hired him. But I want to quote him. He said, "I would not have been given the chance had I not been given the opportunity to prove myself first as a SCSEP enrollee."

I think that sums it up. Thank you very much.

See Appendix D For The Written Statement Of Clayton Fong, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific Center On Aging, Seattle, Washington

Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Mr. Castle, would you care to introduce your constituent?

Mr. Castle. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would.

Mary Ellen Saunders has joined us. She is a management analyst with the Delaware Department of the Health and Social Service Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. Previously, she worked at the Delaware Department of Labor.

She began her career as a public school teacher. I hate to lose teachers, but she does a wonderful job in the State and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She represents Delaware. We are delighted to have her here.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman McKeon. Thank you.

 

STATEMENT OF MARY ELLEN SAUNDERS, MANAGEMENT ANALYSTS, DIVISION OF SERVICES FOR AGING AND ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES, NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE

Ms. Saunders. Thank you, Congressman Castle.

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, on behalf of the State of Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before this committee in support of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and about Title V, the Senior Community Service Employment Program in Delaware.

The mission of Delaware Health and Social Services embraces older citizens, and this program is one piece of the investment Delaware is making in support of them.

The State of Delaware, Delaware Health and Social Services is the only grant recipient of Title V funds in Delaware and has been since the program's inception. To carry out the program at the local level, we contract with a number of indigenous community-based groups. Besides Title V funds, our division is the grant recipient of other Older American Act funds which provide congregate and home-delivered meals, respite and personal care services, transportation and other support services to seniors.

We are proud of our Title V program's long success in meeting the employment needs of Delaware's eligible seniors, the tremendous support it provides to community agencies and our good relationship with our sponsors and our representatives at the United States Department of Labor Older Worker Programs.

We have been continually refining and improving this program over the years. Most recently, in 1997, in order to foster competition, we started an open bid process to select service providers. This process consists of typical open bid procedures: request for proposals, pre-bid meeting, bid presentation, evaluation and award.

Our Division created an independent review committee to evaluate the bids. We looked for people who had knowledge and experience with employment issues, people who were representative of each county of the State and knowledgeable of that county's population, geography and industry.

Delaware, a small State, is made up of three counties. Each county is unique. The county at one end of the State is very rural, the county at the other end of the State is typical of a larger urban area, and the county in the middle is a mixture of both. We wanted that geographic diversity to be reflected in our selection of members of the technical review committee.

Another primary objective of this process was to maintain an equitable distribution of the slots throughout the State so that the proportion of eligible seniors to be served in an area continued to be comparable to the number of eligible people in that area. We have a long history of maintaining an equitable distribution, and we wanted to keep that focus.

The executive director of the Delaware Private Industry Council and two Department of Labor office managers, each representative of a different county of the State, all participated on that committee. Our staff provided administrative and technical assistance to this committee.

After an evaluation of the bidder's proposals, the review committee made recommendations for funding. We implemented these recommendations, and contracts were negotiated and signed. Selected service providers are community-based agencies who are experienced, capable and knowledgeable.

Community-based agencies have served our clients over the years. The experience and knowledge of these agencies, along with their willingness to work cooperatively with us, has facilitated the growth and the development of the Title V program. Some of the results of that growth and development are an introduction of the 502(e) program, consistent equitable distribution of program slots, effective management of program costs, achievement of performance goals, and program linkages.

The 502(e) program focuses on employment in private industry at a competitive wage. The training takes place on the job. We started this as a pilot project in one county last year. This year it is running successfully Statewide.

Our statistics give evidence of its success. Our placement goal for the current year, program year '98, is 75 percent. At the end of April, we reached 65 percent of that goal. There are additional slots at various stages of training; and if all of these enrollees achieve placement, we will exceed our goal.

Any change in slot distribution, when needed, is part of our annual planning process. Contractors in each county are notified as increases and decreases in slot levels are needed in order to maintain an equitable distribution of slots throughout the State. Adjustments are made and contract dollars reflect those changes as well.

Because our sponsors understand the slot level must reflect the number of eligible seniors in the area of the State and because there is always turnover in enrollees through placements or other terminations, these statewide adjustments in the slot distribution have never been a problem.

Delaware also has a long history of good, effective management of costs. The program allows 13.5 percent of the grant free administrative costs. Over the past contract years, the average total administrative charges to the grant have been an average of 11 percent.

In the past 3 years, we have exceeded our placement goal of 20 percent. In '96, our placements were 22; in '97, 25 percent; and, in '98, we are already at 24 percent of our goal.

We also have a long-standing cooperative work relationship with the Delaware Department of Labor. Besides the participation of the Department of Labor and Private Industry Council officials on our committee, we have older workers assigned to the local offices. We have a memorandum of agreement with the JTPA program; and, currently, our director is working with Delaware's Secretary of Labor as a member of the Planning and Implementation Committee for the Workforce Investment Act.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

See Appendix E For The Written Statement Of Mary Ellen Saunders, Management Analysts, Division Of Services For Aging And Adults With Physical Disabilities, New Castle, Delaware

Mr. Barrett. [Presiding.] Thank you very much, Ms. Saunders. Dr. Shaul, for the most part all of the panelists talked about the 78/22 split, 78% of the funding for this program goes to the national organizations, 22% of the funding for this program goes to the State Aging organizations. How do the services provided by the national organizations and the State organizations differ, the services provided?

Ms. Shaul. I am sorry, I really cannot answer that question in any detail. When we evaluated this program in 1994 and reported in 1995, we were not specifically looking at service differences. It is true that the kinds of things that the States and national sponsors do can be similar, but we didn't do an evaluation of the services of the national sponsors and the services of the State agencies.

Mr. Barrett. Can either of the members of the three national organizations answer that question? Ms. Wooten?

Ms. Wooten. Yes, I think we can.

The State focuses their services on aging services, services to the aging community, whereas the national grantees focus services more on services to the general community, which Maya portion of their funds_actually, I can give you the percentage. There are, actually, about 73 percent of the national grantees' positions are in service to the general community. The balance is in service to aging services.

That is compared to about_well, it is just almost the opposite for the States. The States put by far the most resources into staffing their services, like aging_like senior centers and nutrition programs and those sorts of services.

Mr. Barrett. Then how do the services offered within the national organizations differ?

Ms. Wooten. Those services_they can range from tutoring_assigning enrollees to a school to tutor children, to manning a local library, to working at the Red Cross, like Mary Rucker did in Nebraska, serving general organizations that do not focus necessarily on services to an aging population.

Mr. Barrett. Now, national organizations, if I am not mistaken, are asked to provide under the regulations, 10 percent matching funds.

Ms. Wooten. Correct.

Mr. Barrett. Is that matching fund in cash?

Ms. Wooten. Generally not. Generally, it is in in-kind contributions, which is allowed.

Mr. Barrett. Then a noncash contribution could be an enrollee in a library, is that what you are saying?

Ms. Wooten. No, the noncash contribution could be the value of the supervisor's time that supervises that enrollee who is assigned to a library. But it could be other kinds of in-kind contributions, like donated office space and telephone expenses. And, in some instances, we co-locate with other community service organizations that will donate space to us and donate use of telephone and Xerox machines and those sorts of things. So it is wherever we save money that normally we would have to spend to support the program, that is basically an in-kind contribution.

Mr. Mizerak. A few other things, too, like physicals. We grant physicals to our participants each year. There are some agencies like clinics where our participants work they get free medical physicals each year from that agency. They would get like a discount in their prescription drugs.

Some people also provide free training for our participants. In other words, if they have a training course for their staff, like computers, they will bring and allow our participants to go along and they will pay for that service.

Mr. Barrett. Thank you.

Ms. Saunders. Good move, Governor_why is Delaware so different? Why is Delaware, I believe, the only State that doesn't have a national sponsor; isn't that correct? Yes_no, I think Alaska also doesn't have a national sponsor.

Ms. Wooten. Hawaii.

Mr. Barrett. Alaska and Hawaii. I was informed by counsel. What makes you different and why?

Ms. Saunders. We are not really dissimilar in terms of the description of how our enrollees_what kind of positions they have in the community and the kind of support we get from some doctors for physicals for our enrollees and things like that. But how it had happened, I don't know the exact history. I know that our director was head of the Division at the time that the decision was made, and she was offered the opportunity to run the program as part of our senior programs.

Mr. Barrett. Do you see this as a problem? Is it an advantage, a disadvantage?

Ms. Saunders. Well, we see it as an advantage to all of the services we can provide the seniors.

Mr. Barrett. Okay. Thank you very much. My time is about to expire.

The ranking member, Mr. Martinez.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you.

Is it true that one of the reasons your program works so well, Ms. Saunders, is because you contract the funds you receive out to community-based organizations?

Ms. Saunders. We do contract our money out.

Mr. Martinez. In fact, you are doing what they are doing, except they are doing it from the Federal level, whereas you are doing it from the State level, yes?

Ms. Saunders. We are contracting out to communities.

Mr. Martinez. So community-based organizations are really the basis of your operation. They are very similar in the regard that you are the only provider in your community.

Ms. Shaul, in your testimony you talked about equitable distribution. How did you arrive at the conclusion that there is inequitable distribution in the State by the 10 national groups?

Ms. Shaul. When we did our work, we compared the equitable distribution reports that the State_that are filed on behalf of States in the years 1989 and 1994, and we looked at the distribution of positions at that time. And we compared_we looked at whether the distribution had been equitable in '99 and whether any improvement had been made in 1994. And in some cases we did not see very much change.

Mr. Martinez.

That still leaves me in a quandary. How can you make that deduction from the information supplied to you by the States and then determine what is equitable and what is inequitable? To me, in order to determine what is equitable and what is inequitable, you must find the population centers and determine whether one population center is being denied or another population center is being favored. Did you do that?

Ms. Shaul. As I understand it, the States_the reports that talk about States_

Mr. Martinez. I am not talking about the States. You were doing the investigation.

Ms. Shaul. Our investigation was looking at the grant award process. It was looking at the administrative costs. It was not designed to evaluate the performance of either of the States.

Mr. Martinez.

If you are trying to suggest that something is inequitable, then you ought to have some real, bona fide evidence as to whether it is inequitable or not. It doesnít surprise me though, that your data is unreliable. When I first came to Congress 17 years ago, I had the greatest confidence in the GAO, but since then, I have seen the GAO conduct two investigations in my district. Now I have no more confidence in the GAO and their conclusions than I have in the man in the moon.

For every statistic that you quoted in your testimony, Ms. Wooten, you point out where the 10 national groups have been more successful than the States.

Let me tell you where I am coming from. When I first became acquainted with this particular situation, I wondered why the 10 groups get so much more money than the States. Well, now I understand why. They are more effective with the money they get. The States have a tendency to be more bureaucratic in the distribution.

In fact, one of the things on which I agree with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is the idea of privatizing a lot of government operations. Because privatization gives rise to competition, and with competition comes the drive to excel. So in this instance, I can say that that is what happened.

Earlier, I talked about one of the national organizations in my district about bringing forth the concept of a civilian police patrol. They wear uniforms and badges, are recognized as an authority, however they are trained in such a way that they are not in harm's way and know how to respond to a situation quickly. They have, in several instances, saved citizens and saved property. They have done an outstanding job. I would have never thought to see a program like it. And I doubt that the States could run such a program.

Can you just expand on what the main differences are between the State and grantee-run programs? From my perspective, I see a lot of differences in the way the States their programs. They run them in conjunction with area agencies on aging, mostly providing personnel for senior centers or helping out with nutritional programs and things like that, which are not at all related to providing real, meaningful employment that creates pride in an individual like your organizations do.

Ms. Wooten. Yes. Mr. Martinez, I believe that one of the reasons why the national sponsors as a group do a better job, and I can only speak for Green Thumb obviously, is because we are more bottom-line focused. We are not bureaucratic. We can be innovative. We can be responsive. And we know that if we don't do a good job, you are going to de-fund us. You should hold us accountable for our results, and if we don't do a good job, you should take that money away.

But here we have got a situation where we have done an excellent job, and so the opposite is true. If you have got great organizations that have done a terrific job over the years, you should reward those groups, if anything. You shouldn't be talking about taking money away and giving it to a group of State organizations that are bureaucratic for the most part.

And I know Delaware has done a terrific job, and I am not specifically talking about you, but there are States that have not done a good job, and it brought the statistics down. And if you are talking about shifting the funding to some of these States, then you are going to have a result that I don't think you want.

One other reason for our success, real briefly, is Green Thumb is nonpartisan; and we work with both sides of the aisle very effectively. Our bottom line is we want to help the people we are here to serve. And too often in State government, and government in general, service to people gets overshadowed by partisan political concerns. And it is really a shame. It is really a shame, because we need to keep our eye on the ball; and, that is, how are we going to help those older people out there who want to remain independent and productive well into their 60s and 70s and 80s, live better lives? And if we all focus on that, I think the result here is clear.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman McKeon. [Presiding.] Thank you.

I am trying to learn kind of more about this program. Ms. Saunders, how much money does your State get for this program?

Ms. Saunders. This year, about $1.8 million.

Chairman McKeon. $1.8 million. And what? You then help people get jobs? How do you do that? Take just one person. Do they subsidize the job? Does the employer pay some out of their funds and you pay some out of your funds?

Ms. Saunders. Well, we have both parts of the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The regular program is people are placed into subsidized jobs, gain the training, and some are placeable and find placement.

Then we did start the 502(e) component of the program last year as a pilot, and this year a whole State does it. And that is where they are immediately placed in private industry or nonprofit agency. But, anyway, right on the job where the employer that will eventually hire them if they are satisfactory in their performance.

Chairman McKeon. So they go to work for a while totally subsidized?

Ms. Saunders. Yes. They start out subsidized, and if they_

Chairman McKeon. And the employer has free labor. And if they decide, how much time do you have to make a decision?

Ms. Saunders. It can vary. Most approximately 3 months has been our format at the moment, but it can be whatever the job requires. If there is a greater skill and demands a longer training period, that is something we can adjust to.

Chairman McKeon. Let us say it is one that requires 3 months. At the end of the 3 months, then they hire or don't hire that person?

Ms. Saunders. That is correct.

Chairman McKeon. If they hire that person, does the employer take over full responsibility or do you continue to subsidize?

Ms. Saunders. No, the employer takes full responsibility at that time. It becomes an unsubsidized placement.

Chairman McKeon. Okay. Do you have other jobs where you continue subsidy or is your total goal to get people totally into unsubsidized jobs?

Ms. Saunders. In the 502(e) program, it is to totally get them into jobs. But in the regular program, our goal is twofold, as the law allows, which is some are placed in unsubsidized employment and some support community agencies.

Chairman McKeon. Okay. You said that your overhead is about 13 percent?

Ms. Saunders. The law allows about 13-1/2 percent. Ours has been around 11 percent.

Chairman McKeon. Eleven. Thank you.

Mr. Fong, what does your overhead run percentage-wise?

Mr. Fong. The last_for the last few years, we have stayed under the 13.5 percent, and it has usually been between about 12-3/4 and 13-1/2.

Chairman McKeon. And how many people_how much money do you get?

Mr. Fong. Ours is a pretty small program, comparatively speaking. We have about a $6 million budget, and it is_we serve a little over a thousand seniors a year. The allocation_

Chairman McKeon. $6 million, you get work for a thousand people?

Mr. Fong. Yes.

Chairman McKeon. How many jobs do you get for your $1.8 million?

Ms. Saunders. We get 262 slots.

Chairman McKeon. Okay. Ms. Wooten, what is your percentage overhead?

Ms. Wooten. Our overhead runs around 12.1, 12.2 percent, consistently has for the last several years.

Chairman McKeon. And how much money do you get?

Ms. Wooten. $109 million this year to serve 44 States and Puerto Rico.

Chairman McKeon. And how many jobs have you helped people get?

Ms. Wooten. Out of our_our authorized level is about 16,000. Our placement rate_I don't have the number on the top on of my head. That is why I am translating it. We actually placed_last year, we placed about 35 percent of the people that we were authorized to serve. So I guess that would be_

Chairman McKeon. To save time now, could you each get me those numbers at a later date so they can be included in the record??

Ms. Wooten. Sure.

Mr. Mizerak. Sure.

Chairman McKeon. Mr. Mizerak.

Mr. Mizerak. I have it right here.

Ms. Wooten. I have got it here.

Chairman McKeon. If you can get them for me for the record, I am running out of time.

Mr. Mizerak. All right. The Urban League had $15 million.

Chairman McKeon. And you state in your testimony that you got that through a competitive bid process?

Mr. Mizerak. That is right, in 1978.

Chairman McKeon. Have you had to rebid at all?

Mr. Mizerak. No, we have not.

Chairman McKeon. You bid one time in 1978?

Mr. Mizerak. That is correct.

Chairman McKeon. There has been no change on any of the people performing this service since 1978?

Mr. Mizerak. No, the Asian Pacific Islanders and the Native Americans came in, I believe, in 1989.

Mr. Fong. 1990, I believe.

Chairman McKeon. Did somebody drop out then and you replace him or her?

Mr. Mizerak. No.

Chairman McKeon. Or is there an additional?

Mr. Mizerak. It was additional.

Chairman McKeon. Is that competition made each year? Does anybody else have a chance to get into this? So that it is a closed-shop type thing?

Mr. Mizerak. Yes, it hasn't been opened.

Ms. Wooten. We reapply every year.

Chairman McKeon. But no competition?

Ms. Wooten. But there is no competition. And I think the reason for that is as long as_at least what I have been told, is that as long as we are meeting our goals_

Chairman McKeon. So we have to assume that all 10 groups are doing an excellent job?

Ms. Wooten. Yes.

Chairman McKeon. And there is no reason to run any competition?

Okay. Mr. Kind.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I thank the witnesses for their testimony today. It has been very interesting.

To follow up on that line of questioning, letís take a moment to explore the competitive bidding proposal and the pros or perhaps the cons of why it may not necessarily work all that well. Do any of you have any thoughts on that?

Ms. Wooten. I will take a shot at that.

I feel very strongly that there needs to be an accountability when grantees are not performing. This is a program where you have people in community service jobs on an ongoing basis. So it would be very disruptive to rebid the program every year, and so I support the philosophy at least that if a grantee is producing excellent results, then you need to continue with that grantee.

But if you are not producing, then there needs to be competition. I think competition is healthy in that circumstance; and, in fact, that is one of our recommendations, Mr. Chairman. If grantees are not producing, whether they are State grantees or grantees of the national program, we believe that competition would be healthy if they fall below, you know, certain performance goals that are established. But to have competition every year in this kind of a program would be very disruptive.

Mr. Kind. What if it weren't every year? What if it was over a period of time, perhaps 2, 3, 4 year process?

Ms. Wooten. Well, it would be less disruptive if it is extended over a period of time, that is for sure. But I think the question becomes, you know, again, if you have got grantees that are performing in an outstanding manner, what is the justification for competition?

Mr. Kind. Perhaps getting someone in whom could be a little bit more efficient or a little more effective.

Mr. Fong, did you have anything to add?

Mr. Fong. Yes, I would want to add a couple of things.

One, I think the process_we are kind of new to this game. We came in 1990, which is relatively newer, and I will say that it took quite a bit of time to ramp up, establish the program, get seniors placed and improve the placement rate.

So, for example, our placement rate really in the first 3 years we ran the program was quite low, in the single digits; and we didn't start to crack the single digits until I think we have been running the program for 4 or 5 years. Now, we happened to have a unique situation with a large percentage of nonEnglish-speaking elders and other things. But, nonetheless, the trend line is very relevant. And so I think when you pull that out, I think that becomes_the uncertainty becomes problematic.

Too, I would also want to mention that, at least from our perspective where we serve a community that is very, very difficult to serve, as a matter of fact, I think often there are a number of other national sponsors and States who send their_they refer people to us, because of the language barriers and/or other things. And what happens is, I think, that_I used to do children's health work, and my analogy would be, children's hospitals are kind of a regional facility that serves_that creates an infrastructure that is not replicable in every single hospital.

Well, in a lot of ways, I think especially with the minority groups as a whole, the ability to reach minority groups that are very isolated, you don't reach them through the same mechanisms. You need to have that, and you need to have a predictable infrastructure that can reach those folks, and that is what is the success in reaching minorities, particularly, and those with_the hardest to reach.

Actually, I think rural areas are another good example of folks that wouldn't otherwise be reached if you didn't have these kind of dedicated efforts. And so I understand the desire for competition and the desire for accountability, but it may be accountability is more important than competition.

Mr. Kind. Thank you.

Dr. Shaul, in regards to the cost shifting proposal, let me ask you the policy reasons behind it. I assume what we are hearing today is indisputable in regards to the private sponsors having better performance rates and placements, per participant costs, and administrative costs, therefore, what is the policy reason for shifting more of the funds to the States?

Ms. Shaul. Congressman, we had our discussions with the subcommittee staff about coming to testify today. We did talk about the fact that we had not done a current_we had not done an evaluation of the national sponsors, nor have we done a recent look. We came today because we believed our message, particularly around the hold harmless issue, was a very important one for you all to think about.

Because I think everyone in the panel would agree that we would like to have the jobs, the programs subsidies be where the needy, elderly live; and that is not true when 63 percent of the funds are held harmless in the same distribution as they were in 1978. So we are not prepared to comment on the performance, statistics that Green Thumb has introduced.

One of the things I would say is that when we looked at the program in 1994, we did look at some program characteristics, such as minority served and so on; and we did not see significant differences. But at that time what the State's performance was and what the performance was with the national organizations with regard to the participation_the placement rates, and I think some people were talking about figures going back 10 years, what we found in 1994 was that there was no common definition among the national sponsors about what was a valid placement. You could have someone go to a job for one day, and that would be counted as a valid placement. In some other organization, it might be 30 days. In another organization, there may be not time limits.

So at that time we did not believe it was possible to do a valid comparison. It was like apples and oranges among the organizations.

Mr. Kind. If the chairman will indulge me, is the GAO planning on doing some type of contemporary study on these performance statistics so we have a chance to compare apples and apples?

Ms. Shaul. We had not been asked to do that.

Mr. Kind. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman McKeon. It sounds like it would be difficult if they are all working from a different standard, very hard to make that.

Mr. Mizerak. May I comment that I believe since the GAO report there has been a common definition of unsubsidized placement. So we are all looking at what we call an unsubsidized placement. A person has to be working 30 days, and we do actually check to make sure they are actually working 30 days to count that as a bona fide placement.

Chairman McKeon. So they can make a study now that would be able to make a valid comparison?

Mr. Mizerak. Excuse me, just another_

Chairman McKeon. The time is up.

Mr. Barrett.

Mr. Barrett. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Fong, I was particularly interested in your comments about the Asian elderly, and I think you suggested that you had had some trouble in the past in gaining slots for Pacific Islanders and Asians and so forth, which reminds me of a problem that I have in a rural area in the plains with the Native Americans. This is a very, very serious problem.

Have you any suggestions for the good of the order, if you have gone through with it some of your folks?

Mr. Fong. I want to be clear on the question. The question is with regard to whether we are able to meet our needs given the fact that_I think it is primarily an issue of_how do I put this? I think the funding for the program really has been flat for a long time, at least from the perspective of slots and what have you. And I think that it is very true that if you take a look at the growth of the Asian Pacific population since 1978, it would be quite astounding.

But I think we_I think the key is as an organization we wouldn't advocate that we take slots away from another organization, because we know that would displace another senior. So I think what we are waiting for is that the distributions and what have you to be dealt with in a time of growth, and that is a practical reality from the side of exercising some compassion in terms of wanting to accomplish it. It is very difficult to accomplish it in terms of_at the expense of another individual.

Mr. Barrett. Well, then in thinking about formulas and so forth, shifting, there are some who would argue that urban America is entitled to more money because of additional or higher rents, higher costs of doing business in the inner city or whatever, and there are those who would argue that rural America also has some problems in terms of distances, in terms of 25-year-old vans that are worn out and where do we go to get a new one. How do we bus our seniors 25 and 30 miles to a center? Isn't there something to be said for that as well?

Mr. Fong. Oh, absolutely. And what I would say is that what I think a lot of national sponsors and I know what we do is we counter that very simply with we haven't seen increases in the costs allocable for running the slots, so to speak, or a position. And, quite frankly, we beg, borrow and steal. We work with other organizations. They bring in additional in-kinds.

We get_we have other ways of doing it. We get folks to give us free office space. We get folks to donate the rent. We get folks to_I mean, and I think that is an ability that a private sector sponsor has that is a little harder for a government entity. Because who wants to go in and subsidize the government entity? Whereas if you are a CBO that is community based, folks, United Way and fund-raising and all of those other things, you are able to kind of leverage support.

Now, I will say that I think in the case of especially the Indian community and the Asian community, there really are some special costs. There are special costs around language and transportation and special costs around translation and all of those kinds of things, but we just find a way to get it done. We write grants. We get additional support. We would love to see additional support come for those factors.

Mr. Barrett. Your bottom line is flexibility, because you can do it better than the States?

Mr. Fong. Well, yes. It sounds a little self-serving, yes.

Mr. Barrett. Thank you, sir.

Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, someone else might like to ask a question before we have to leave.

Chairman McKeon. Thank you, Mr. Barrett.

Mr. Tierney has no questions at this time.

Well, we got through it. You know, we said we were going to have a vote about an hour ago, and they held it off, and we were glad to hear your testimonies.

We want to thank you for being here and for helping us in this process, and our plan is to get a bill written and to get this done before the August break. So if you think of something that you didn't say that you want to say, if you will get it to us, we will get it in the record. And if you will watch the process as we go through and continue to be a part of it, we appreciate your ongoing input. Thank you very much.

We stand adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 3:20 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]

The following testimony was included as part of the printed record:

The Statement Of Gema G. Hernandez, D.P.A., Secretary, Florida Department Of Elder Affairs (Appendix F)

The Statement Of Walter G. Hoefer, Director, New York State Officer For The Aging (Appendix G)