Housing shortage hits seniors

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) The shortage of housing is an ongoing problem for many Northern Nevadans, but this is especially true for those with lower-income levels.

Jeanne Bishop-Parise is the administrator at Park Place Assisted Living, and says the issue can be solved with more funding.

"If they were to increase funding as they do in other states where there is $100 a day to what the state would pay and what their income would contribute, they would find more providers," she says,

She says there are under 200 Medicaid-provided beds in Northern Nevada and just 45 providers statewide.

"We are really in a crisis point right now," Parise-Bishop says.

State Senator Julia Ratti (D-NV) says the legislature is working on solutions that would use housing as health care.

"If you can keep people housed," Ratti says, "they obviously stay healthier, but then that also saves us money on emergency room visits, hospitalizations and long-term care."

In Northern Nevada, facilities like Park Place are at 90-percent capacity, but the real problem is that many seniors are outliving their assets, which means if they can't pay, they end up in unsafe situations.

"Those are the only places available because all of the Medicaid waiver slots are full," Parise-Bishop says.

Senator Ratti says by June, the committee will have five bill drafts that will then go to the 2019 legislative session.