> Fiscal Strategies
Perhaps your community partnership has completed a strategic plan that identifies several key areas of need. Maybe you’ve identified a need to expand home care services or improve sidewalks in certain neighborhoods. Now comes the challenge: How will you fund each initiative?
Strength in Numbers
The fiscal strategy you develop will be unique to your community’s needs and resources. Chances are good, however, that it will involve more than one funding source. Public funding comes from federal, state, county or municipal sources, and it may need to be combined with private contributions, user fees and volunteer hours. This is where your partnership comes in. As you map out your fiscal strategy as a group, consider these tactics:
- Identify people among you who are experts in existing funding streams. Nearly all funding sources come with expectations, limitations and reporting requirements that may have steep learning curves and administrative burdens. Take advantage of the experience some of your members already have.
- Put together compelling and persuasive proposals. A funding request from a strong partnership of community stakeholders will be impressive to funders. It will represent the collective wisdom of a diverse group of people and organizations, and reflect your community’s priorities. Moreover, when an application has such a broad base of support, funders will feel confident that the necessary stakeholders will be involved in successful implementation. Joining others in applying for funding can also make it easier to identify and secure local matching funds, if necessary.
- Maximize the resources you already have. You may find that one of your partners has been operating an underused program, and is willing to modify it in order to make it more attractive to the community, as long as the funder’s requirements can still be met. Your partnership may also have funders within it that are committed to supporting initiatives that reflect a careful planning process and demonstrate broad community support.
- Make 2 and 2 equal 5. The supports needed by older people can be very complex, and often involve multiple programs and disciplines. In some cases that may work to your advantage. For example, you may find that your partnership can create supported housing if you combine the existing resources of a housing developer, a home care agency and a senior center. Or that your state Medicaid agency can help you double the amount of personal care available in people’s homes if you’re willing to use existing funds to leverage federal matching funds.
An Array of Options
This section of the Resource Center organizes financing options by type of service or resource. The vast array of options requires that communities be strategic in their aims. So once you’ve established your priorities, dig in with an open mind. Many of the resources listed here are well-known, but your community may be the first to use them in new and creative ways.
Long Term Care
Long term care and supportive services are financed by a combination of public and private funding sources. This section covers Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, Social Services Block Grant funds, veterans services, state and local funds, long term care insurance, and out-of-pocket funds. As communities strive to stretch resources, they are likely to come under greater pressure to increase local and private funding and combine it with traditional public sources.
This section focuses on the various forms of public financing available to pay for medical care for older adults including Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drug coverage, health insurance counseling, and health care benefits for veterans.
This section describes some of the benefits that go directly to consumers including Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), the SSI State Supplement, and veterans benefits, as they are important sources of financing for community-based services.
Several federal programs provide financing for the nutritional needs of older adults living in the community, while at the local level food banks, soup kitchens and food shelves offer safety-net programs that rely heavily on local support. This section offers details about these programs, as well as examples of creative efforts to address the nutritional needs of older adults.
This section describes a number of financing sources that exist to help older adults with home heating and cooling bills, and with home repairs that permanently reduce energy costs. These sources include federal, state, municipality, and utility company programs.
This section covers sources of financing for transportation including Medicaid, state departments of transportation, Social Services Block Grants, the Older Americans Act and local governments.
Older adults are increasingly viewed as valuable resources who strengthen communities through volunteer service and civic engagement. Many local and national programs finance these activities through administrative funds, stipends and volunteer hours.
Government financing is often highly targeted and restricted to specific services with stringent eligibility criteria. National and local foundations, corporations and other non-governmental grantmakers should be considered when flexibility or innovation is desired.
Housing is one of the most commonly cited needs when communities take inventory of resources for older persons. This section discusses financing resources available to address a range of housing options, including adding services or making changes to a person’s existing home and building new facilities that are designed for older persons with changing needs.