CHAPTER 126

FORMERLY

SENATE SUBSTITUTE NO. 1

TO

SENATE BILL NO. 27

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A HOME COUNSELING CENTER FOR SENIOR CITIZENS WITHIN THE DIVISION OF AGING, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section I. Amend Title 31 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Chapter 36, which shall read as follows:

"CHAPTER 36. HOME COUNSELING CENTER FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

§3601. Declaration of Policy

The General Assembly of the State of Delaware recognizes that the quality of housing affects every aspect of an older individual's life, from the physical to the psychological. For many older Delawareans maintaining themselves in a suitable environment is an ongoing battle. Some are unnecessarily forced into nursing homes because of the unavailability of housing that matched their physical needs or financial resources. In other cases, housing and/or relocation decisions are made without knowledge of the resources or alternatives available. The General Assembly, therefore, intends through this Act to address this situation by establishing a Home Counseling Center within the Division of Aging whose responsibility it will be to develop and coordinate a continuum of housing options for older Delawareans.

§3602. Establishment of a Home Counseling Center

There is hereby established a Home Counseling Center for Senior Citizens within the Division of Aging, Department of health and Social Services.

§3603. Definitions

As used in this Chapter:

(a) 'Division' shall mean the Division of Aging;

(b) 'Department' shall mean the Department of Health and Social Services;

(c) 'Senior Citizen' shall mean any Delaware resident 60 years of age or older;

(d) 'Center' shall mean the Home Counseling Center;

(e) 'Task Force' shall mean the Task Force on Housing for Senior Citizens;

(f) 'Matched Housing Program' shall mean shared housing arrangements.

§3604 Duties and Functions of the Home Counseling Center

The Home Counseling Center shall have the following duties and functions:

(a) Conduct ongoing research to keep abreast of the existing housing options available to Senior Citizens including research into ways Senior Citizens can finance said housing options;

(b) Directly implement a matched housing program with the Counties;

(c) Advocate for the establishment of additional housing alternatives, including home equity conversion, and work with Senior Citizen organizations on the removal of those barriers which include, but are not limited to financial, regulatory, and legislative that inhibit the development of other alternatives;

(e) Serve as an educational clearinghouse for information on housing options for Senior Citizens, including publication and dissemination of Information on laws and regulations pertaining to housing, Including, but not limited to rent control and condominium conversion; Operate a housing counseling service that will counsel Senior Citizens on available housing options and financial/legal matters that may apply to their housing situation, including, but not limited to laws and regulations, utilization of financial options such as home equity conversion, passbook accounts and insurance annuities;

(f) Coordinate with existing County, City and private housing programs to enhance communication of new concepts and developments in housing and to ensure sensitivity to the unique housing needs of Senior Citizens;

(g) Network with banks, lending and investment institutions to explore ways in which Senior Citizens could more effectively invest their money in order to provide adequate housing;

(h) Develop, coordinate and train a cadre of Senior Citizen volunteers to perform peer counseling in housing options and related financial/legal matters, thereby reaching a greater number of Senior Citizens in need of counseling at minimal cost.

§3605. Task Force

(a) There is established a Task Force on Housing for Senior Citizens;

(b) The Task Force shall be composed of at least nine members who shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services;

(c) The duties of the Task Force shall include, but not be limited to the following:

1. Study, research, plan, and advise the Staff of the Center and the Division Director on matters It deems appropriate to enable the Center to function in the best possible manner.

2. Review and advise the Staff and the Division Director regarding the annual proposed budget for the Center.

(d) The terms of the new members shall be staggered. The first three appointees shall serve for a term of one year. The next three appointees shall serve for a term of two years, and the next three appointees shall serve for a term of three years. Appointees, including re-appointees, after the initial nine, shall serve three-year terms. No person shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Persons serving two consecutive terms are eligible for re-appointment after a one-year absence.

(e) The members shall include at least one representative from each of the following: a private housing program, a public housing agency, the appropriate county government housing agency, a Senior Citizen organization, the business community, and private citizens.

(1) The membership of the Task Force may be expanded to a maximum of 13 members if the program is expanded statewide. The Task Force may form sub-committees.

(g) The Chairman of the Task Force shall be chosen by the Task Force from among its members and shall serve in that capacity for a term of one year and shall be eligible for re-election."

Section 2. This Act shall be effective upon the appropriation of the General Assembly of sufficient funds for the purposes set forth in this Act.

Section 3. For fiscal year 1986, the Center shall be established in New Castle County on a plot basis. The planning unit of the Division of Aging shall design and implement an evaluation mechanism to measure the adequacy and success of the plot program in reaching its goal- - to assist Senior Citizens in maintaining themselves independently in the community. The evaluation process will entail the systematic collection and analysis of client utilization data including, but not limited to number of clients counseled, number of clients "matched" in shared housing arrangements and number of clients able to convert home equity into disposable income. The effectiveness of the program measured in this manner will then be compared with expenditures to determine the cost- effectiveness of the program. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services shall provide a copy of the evaluation to the General Assembly by March 15th of 1986. The continuation and expansion of the Center shall be determined by the appropriation of the General Assembly of sufficient funds.

Section 4. Services set forth in this Act shall be provided to the extent that sufficient funding is appropriated for such services.

Section 5. If any provision of this Act is held invalid, such invalidity shall not effect other provisions of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision, and to that end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Approved July 4, 1985