April 26, 2022 Advocacy Alert



 
Make Your Ask for FY 2023 OAA Funding

Reach Out to Your Senators and Representatives With Our New Grassroots Toolkit

USAging has sent a flurry of Advocacy Alerts your way recently, urging you to push your Senators and Representatives to sign on to critical letters supporting strong investments for Older Americans Act funding, but your continued advocacy is critical in the coming days and weeks!

As we all know, the final FY 2022 bill was a major blow to OAA advocates as we face an ever-growing aging population and demand for access to services and programs, following a harrowing and enduring pandemic. However, it’s the dawn of a new day—appropriations season has begun in Washington, DC, and Members of Congress have already started the process of determining regular FY 2023 funding levels. Because every year holds new promise, we must keep up the drumbeat and renew our fight to achieve sufficiently sustainable funding for OAA programs and services in FY 2023.

Translation: OUR ADVOCACY HAS JUST BEGUN! We have work to do together this spring and we need you to continue taking action!

USAging has sent our annual appropriations request letter to Congress outlining the critical importance of investing in OAA and other vital discretionary programs that help older adults live with independence at home. USAging has also begun requesting meetings with key Hill offices. But that’s not enough: we need Congress to hear directly from their constituents—and that’s where you and our new FY 2023 appropriations campaign come in.

Why We Need Your Advocacy

The pandemic brought into sharp focus the importance of strengthening America’s investment in the networks and systems already in place to support older adults, such as the Aging Network, OAA and other federally supported solutions. Congress must recognize that funding for the Aging Network’s programs and services needs to be significantly increased on a long-term basis to serve the rapidly growing numbers of older adults who need them, to meet the greater complexity of client needs and to address the workforce challenges that are affecting older adults’ access to services.

In our 2023 appropriations asks, USAging has specifically prioritized four subtitles of the Act for doubling: Title III B (Supportive Services), Title VI (Native American Aging Programs), Title III D (evidence-based health and wellness) and Title III E (National Family Caregiver Support Program).

This is the level of investment these programs should have had before COVID-19 and reflects what these programs will absolutely need after it! We must not allow the continued erosion of critical funding needs after withstanding a decade of cuts followed by austerity. For the Aging Network to meet the need, it’s past time to grow the baseline permanently!

We need all AAAs, Title VI programs and all your local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all members of Congress know that the pandemic repercussions of increased demand for services endure and exist alongside changing demographics and the after-effects of a decade of stagnant funding—all of which risks the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents! 

Take Action Now!

Contact your Representatives and Senators NOW to advocate for funding for OAA programs and services. Read USAging’s appropriations request letter but use our grassroots templates to customize your asks to reflect your agency/program: AAA template, Title VI template. It is important that you take the time to localize what this funding means for the older adults and caregivers in your community, tribe or state.

STEP 1: Put Your Requests in Writing! Send a letter requesting their support. If you can put it on your agency’s letterhead, that’s ideal. If not, send it from your Advisory Board or even yourself as a private citizen. Or do all three! Use our templates (AAA/Title VI) but customize to your agency/community. Send the letter via email to their DC and district offices. Find that contact information on your Members’ websites: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

STEP 2: Make Your Support for OAA Funding Public.
  • Attend any virtual events/town halls your Senators and Representatives are hosting during in the upcoming congressional recesses (May 30–June 3) and raise OAA funding during the Q&A!
  • Find out whether any of your agency’s supporters know the Members of Congress serving your community or if they will be seeing them at any virtual events. If so, ask that they put in a good word for OAA funding and its impact in your community.
STEP 3: Invite Your Lawmakers to Visit, Virtually or In-Person. Members of Congress will be back in their states and districts May 30–June 3, so get on their local calendars NOW and engage them in your May Older Americans Month or other events! Individual site visits, even if virtual, are also a great opportunity to educate your elected officials about the critical services you provide to their constituents. All you have to do is ask! (Tip: Put the request in writing. Call or email the DC office to ensure your request gets to the scheduler.)

STEP 4: Engage Your Provider Network. Urge your vendors/providers, advisory board members and other important stakeholders to send their own letters to Congress. Please do all you can to amplify the message and engage others who understand the value of OAA in their community! You’re welcome to forward this Alert to your networks or edit it to be best received by your advocates.

Stay tuned for more updates from USAging and check out USAging’s FY 2023 appropriations campaign page for additional advocacy resources, as always, we thank you for your advocacy!

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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or USAging’s policy positions, please contact Amy Gotwals at agotwals@usaging.org and Monica Billger at mbillger@usaging.org.


USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2022 winners!