In recent weeks, Iona staff have played a part in legislative and community efforts to advocate for older adults in Washington, DC.
Increasing food access for all seniors
On February 14, Iona CEO Joon Bang testified before DC Councilmember Anita Bonds and the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration in support of the No Senior Hungry Act of 2021.
In particular, Bang showed Iona’s support for two elements of the bill: the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) and the addition of Home Delivered Meals (HDMs) to the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Waiver (EPD Waiver).
Currently, only 46% of the District’s eligible older adult population receives SNAP, the program formerly known as food stamps. The adoption of ESAP would help increase SNAP participation among older adults across the city.
EPD Waiver HDMs would provide home-delivered meals for disabled adults aged 18-59 living in the District. Bang shared the compelling story of a recent referral Iona received for a 57 year-old man who was EPD Waiver-eligible and desperate to find a home-delivered meal program. The man lives alone and suffers from multiple chronic conditions including congestive heart failure, which make him unable to shop for or prepare appropriate meals for himself. He can also barely afford to buy food.
Watch Joon’s testimony below (beginning at 3:00:07) or read it here.
Introducing Iona’s Community Advisory Council
On February 25, Iona held its inaugural Community Advisory Council (CAC) meeting. The CAC is an advisory group of community leaders, community members, and Iona participants and caregivers from Wards 7 and 8. All have expressed a commitment to ensuring their support and guidance so that Iona’s Washington Home Center is established as a welcoming and visible resource for older adults and family caregivers in the community. Iona Board of Directors member Shawn Mcleod will be Chair of the CAC.