Sending Office: Honorable Peter A. DeFazio
Bipartisan Sign-On: Support Senior Corps Volunteers
*this is a programmatic request*
Deadline: TODAY, March 15 2018
Current Signers (54): MacArthur, Katko, Vela, Lofgren, Loebsack, Davis, DeSaulnier, Hastings, Brown, Raskin, Clarke, Lee, Moulton, Carson, Yarmuth, Moore, Pingree, Schakowsky, Carbajal, Cicilline, Kind, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly,
McGovern, Huffman, Johnson (E.B.), Shea Porter, Barragán, Veasey, Larson, Grijalva, Welch, Gottheimer, Dingell, Nadler, Ruiz, Deutch, Napolitano, Sewell, Bustos, Lujan Grisham, Brady, Bass, Maloney, Kildee, Boyle, Gabbard, Espaillat, Courtney, Langevin, Crist,
Please join me in supporting Senior Corps volunteers in your district. Senior Corps currently includes three volunteer programs for older Americans: the Senior Companion Program, the Foster Grandparent Program, and RSVP. These programs enable senior
volunteers to provide 96 million hours of essential services to their neighbors at a lower cost than any other option. Because of Senior Corps volunteers:
- Almost 800,000 frail and disabled Americans receive independent living services, saving the federal government millions of dollars.
- More than 232,000 at-risk and special needs kids are mentored at schools and correctional facilities that otherwise could not afford such services.
- 65,000 local organizations meet community needs with the help of senior volunteers.
Senior Corps and its associated programs have always received strong bipartisan support because they are a cost effective way to meet local community needs and support the health of American seniors. President Nixon signed the Senior Companion Program into
law. President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan were consistent champions of the Foster Grandparents Program. President Clinton logically organized Senior Companion, Foster Grandparent, and RSVP under Senior Corps. Presidents Bush and Obama continued support
of all three programs.
Alarmingly, the Trump Administration has targeted these programs for elimination. It is more important than ever to protect the Senior Corps programs from extinction. Join me in supporting funding for Senior Corps in the FY 2019 LHHS Appropriations
bill. To sign on, please contact Rina Wulfing at Rina.Wulfing@mail.house.gov in Congressman DeFazio’s office or Jayson Schimmenti at Jayson.Schimmenti@mail.house.gov in
Congressman MacArthur’s office.
Peter A. DeFazio Tom MacArthur
Member of Congress Member of Congress
March xx, 2018
The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen The Honorable Tom Cole
2306 Rayburn House Office Building 2467 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC, 20515
The Honorable Nita Lowey The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member Ranking Member
2365 Rayburn House Office Building 2413 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Chairman Cole and Ranking Member Lowey and Ranking Member DeLauro:
It is more important than ever that we find the most cost-effective way to meet the needs of American communities. Senior Corps is one of those cost-effective solutions. Therefore, we nevertheless ask that you increase funding for these programs in FY 2019.
Senior Corps currently supports three volunteer programs for older Americans: the Senior Companion Program, the Foster Grandparent Program, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Alarmingly, the Trump Administration has targeted the Senior
Corps programs for elimination. With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day for the next 20 years, we need to engage more, not fewer, older adult volunteers.
We urge you to think of Senior Corps programs as assets to be deployed to meet some of our nation’s most difficult problems including the health, nutrition, and social welfare needs of frail elders to help them to continue to live independently, the educational
and social, needs of at-risk children, and the opioid crisis which is affecting communities throughout the country.
We urge you to fund RSVP at the level that was in place prior to the 20 percent cut to RSVP enacted in fiscal year 2011 and maintain the Senior Companion Program and Foster Grandparent Program at current levels, at a minimum. This recommendation
will set total Senior Corps spending for FY 2019 at $216.214 million: $107.702 million for Foster Grandparents, $45.512 million for Senior Companions and $63 million for RSVP.
The Senior Companion Program pairs senior volunteers with frail or disabled elderly individuals who are homebound. By taking care of routine chores and providing transportation to medical appointments or the grocery store, Senior Companions are often the
only reason that frail or disabled senior citizens are able to remain in their homes and avoid living in a costly long-term care facility. Over 60,000 frail and disabled Americans are able to continue living on their own because of Senior Companion
volunteers, saving the federal government millions of dollars.
The Foster Grandparent Program pairs senior volunteers with at-risk and special needs children in schools, youth shelters, and correctional facilities. The presence of a Foster Grandparent has a marked improvement in the reading skills, school attendance,
and behavior of the over 232,000 children that they mentor. Without Foster Grandparents, local schools and facilities would not be able to afford to pay for the individual attention that these children need in order to keep up with their peers.
Through RSVP, about 230,000 seniors across the country are connected to volunteer opportunities with approximately 38,000 local organizations. Not only does RSVP ensure that senior volunteers’ skills are best matched to a local organization, it also guarantees
that volunteers’ time is put to use satisfying whatever unique needs their communities may have. Additionally, senior volunteers reap the mental and physical benefits of remaining active. It’s estimated that in FY 2019 RSVP volunteers will have served
over 320,000 veterans in activities such as transportation and employment service referrals; mentor more than 80,000 children; provide independent living services to nearly 800,000 adults, primarily frail seniors; provide respite services to more than 20,000
family or informal caregivers; and leverage an additional 18,500 volunteers to support RSVP activities, such as delivering meals to those in need and tutoring at-risk children.
By mobilizing seniors to volunteer their skills and experience through Senior Corps, vital community needs are met at a lower cost than other options. These programs enable senior volunteers to provide nearly 96 million hours of essential services
to their neighbors, which translates into more than $2 billion worth of service to the nation. This is an immense return on investment of roughly $10 for every dollar invested. Federal efforts to boost volunteerism have consistently attracted bipartisan
support and Senior Corps should be no different.
We take seriously the unsustainable federal deficit; however all three Senior Corps programs ensure that American volunteers meet local needs at less cost to the taxpayer. We think it makes fiscal sense to support a funding level of $216.214 million in the
FY 2019 Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
Peter A. DeFazio Tom MacArthur
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0