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The Administration for Community Living (ACL)’s Administration on Aging awarded the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology $750,000 — $250,000 per year over three years — to improve access to and services for various older adult populations, including tribal, rural and low-income communities.

“This grant builds on USC’s 30-year leadership in creating safe home environments and will support initiatives that examine the disparities of vulnerable population segments and develop resources to address them,” said USC Leonard Davis School Dean Pinchas Cohen.

Considerations specific to tribal communities can include having multiple generations living under one roof, contributing to less space and increased fall risk. Home modification services in rural communities are often few and far between. Traveling from the country to the city could be difficult for older adults with mobility concerns.

“One size does not fill all when it comes to home modification. With this funding, we aim to meet specific needs and concerns of populations that have long been underserved,” said USC Leonard Davis School Professor Jon Pynoos, the principal investigator of this project.

The grant seeks to bring together the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services and other federal and state agencies that offer home modification services, improving coordination among them.

Funding will also:

  • Create and implement the Home Modification Information Network, an online searchable database of home modification tools and resources via the School’s
  • Develop a new home modification training program to educate members of the Aging Network, the network of federal, state and local agencies working to support successful aging in homes and communities, on how to better connect older adults to resources and funding.
  • Conduct research, such as evaluation of local, state and national home modification best-practices that will serve as the basis of training, consumer education and a Toolkit called “Lessons from the Field”.

“ACL is pleased to support this important project,” said Lance Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL Administrator. “We know that most older adults prefer to stay in their homes and communities as they age, but their homes often lack accessibility features that support the ability to live safely and independently.”

Partners include National Association of Area Agencies on AgingNational Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, and National Council on Aging, and the project will also involve the Diverse Elders Coalition and the National Indian Council on Aging. Along with Pynoos, the USC Leonard Davis School team includes Program Manager Emily Nabors, Senior Training and Development Specialist Julie Overton, and Associate Instructional Professor Caroline Cicero.

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