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Wayne County Commission calls for Older Americans Act reauthorization

Wayne County Commissioners on Sept. 19 unanimously called for reauthorization of the federal Older Americans Act, which will expire at the end of this month without Congressional action.

The Older Americans Act was enacted in 1965 and supports a number of programs for home-bound and otherwise vulnerable senior citizens, including nutrition, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention and caregiver support.

"Our seniors need these services," said Commission Vice-Chair Pro Tempore Jewel Ware (D-Detroit), who presented the resolution.

The resolution noted that more than 20 percent of all Wayne County residents are age 60 and older, which qualifies them for services and protections under the Older Americans Act.

Members of Congress have been wrangling over whether to increase funding for Older Americans Act programs. Senior advocates have said current funding has fallen substantially below the rate of inflation for the past decade while, at the same time, the number of senior Americans has dramatically increased.

The resolution calls on members of Congress to resolve differences over funding and quickly reauthorize the Older Americans Act.