AARP Eye Center
AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa and State President Sandra Harris sent a letter on December 6 to Governor Baker urging passage of HOUSE BILL NO. 4269 - AN ACT RELATIVE TO IMMEDIATE COVID-19 RECOVERY NEEDS. Read the letter below.
December 6, 2021
The Honorable Charlie Baker
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Boston, MA 02133
RE: HOUSE BILL NO. 4269 - AN ACT RELATIVE TO IMMEDIATE COVID-19 RECOVERY NEEDS
Dear Governor Baker:
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP Massachusetts, on behalf of the nearly 38 million members nationwide and 775,000 members here in the Commonwealth, encourages you to swiftly sign House Bill No. 4269 – An Act Relative to Immediate COVID-19 Recovery Needs as it includes funding for programs and services that recognize and support the critical role of family caregivers; help people stay in their own home and community; strengthen the health and financial security of Massachusetts residents; and encourage age-friendly communities.
Funding allocated to improve HCBS in the state including increasing access to HCBS for Medicaid beneficiaries, protecting the HCBS workforce, safeguarding the financial stability for HCBS providers, and accelerating meaningful reform of long-term services and supports are critical components of the bill. Given a vast majority of Commonwealth residents want to live independently in their homes and communities, AARP is pleased to see Massachusetts taking advantage of this unique opportunity to use this increased funding to supplement existing state HCBS efforts.
ARPA-funded programs – including the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) funding, the Emergency Rental Assistance #2 program, and the new Homeownership Assistance Fund program – represent important opportunities for Massachusetts to protect renters and homeowners from eviction, and should be included to fund programs and supportive services to allow people to safely age in place.
AARP urges you to maintain and increase investment in improved public transit systems; actively promote the use of public transportation; require public transit systems to implement and enhance safety regulations and mechanisms; encourage transit authorities to reduce fares for people with disabilities and older adults with low incomes, including policies to implement free public transit where appropriate; and encourage ride-sharing, volunteer programs, and other low-cost programs to help meet older adults’ transportation needs.
This bill includes funding so that older Massachusetts residents have adequate broadband access, affordability, and training will enable them to benefit fully from technologies that improve quality of life and allow them to live independently as they age. We encourage you to expand access to broadband internet while removing barriers that exist for disparate populations to fully utilize this technology.
Thank you again for your service to our state and for your leadership during these challenging times. AARP Massachusetts is committed to working with you to make these critical improvements in our state. We look forward to working with you and would be happy to assist you in any way possible on these important issues. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Costantino, Director of Advocacy, at 617.305.0538 or Jcostantino@aarp.org. Thank you.