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AARP AARP States Arizona Advocacy

A Push for Lawmakers to Act on Housing, Long-Term Care

Lady of justice, gavel and books on wooden table

As the new session of the Arizona State Legislature gets underway, AARP Arizona is planning to focus its advocacy efforts on legislation to strengthen oversight of long-term care facilities, boost affordable housing options and prevent homelessness.

Brendon Blake, state director of advocacy, says AARP will push for enhanced regulation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities after several high-profile death and abuse cases. The incidents have raised questions about the best ways to improve care — and how to hold negligent facility owners responsible for bad care.

One issue advocates are looking at: the maximum $500-per-day penalty for facilities found liable for wrongdoing. The penalty hasn’t increased in decades.

“It’s kind of the Wild West,” Blake says. “Our system is weak when it comes to punishing bad actors.”

AARP will seek increased fines and measures that aim to ensure facility staff are well trained, substandard care is reported and medication administration is improved.

For older adults living independently, AARP will focus on addressing unaffordable housing costs and the related issue of increased homelessness among adults 55 and older. Older adults make up the largest age group among the homeless population, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security. AARP is looking to increase the stock of affordable housing and decrease the number of seniors experiencing homelessness.

The session begins this month. Republicans hold a slight edge — 31-29 in the House, 16-14 in the Senate — while Democrats control the governor’s office, with Katie Hobbs in her second year.

Blake asks those with stories related to these issues to email him at

— Stacey Shepard

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