Bill limiting Pioneer Home rate increases passes Legislature


House Bill 96 makes sure the elders who built Alaska can maintain a high quality of life as they age

JUNEAU – As Alaska grapples with COVID-19, it’s never been more important to keep Alaska seniors who live in Pioneer Homes safe and healthy.

House Bill 96 was introduced to keep Pioneer Homes affordable. The proposal passed the Senate this morning, 19-0, and the House finalized the bill with a 33-0 concurrence vote this afternoon.

HB 96 makes it so yearly Pioneer Home rate increases cannot exceed the Social Security cost of living adjustment. The bill also raises the amount of income which residents may keep for incidental and personal expenses.

“For over a century, Alaska’s Pioneer Homes have provided basic housing for our elders – the men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to building this state,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), one of the bill’s sponsors in the Senate. “Our elders deserve affordable housing where they can spend their advanced years near their loved ones – their kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors – in the state they call home.”

“Keeping Alaska’s Pioneer Homes affordable, is imperative for the health and mental well-being of our elders, especially during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), who sponsored the bill. “Our seniors have spent their lives building Alaska, and we owe it to them to ensure a high quality of life as they age.”

Rep. Laddie Shaw (R-Anchorage) is a member of the House Minority who advocated the bill. He said, “Making sure our elders are cared for is not a political issue, and I believe that was reflected in the votes today. Alaska’s seniors deserve the security and peace of mind that our Pioneer Homes afford them, and I’m glad this Legislature agrees.”

HB 96 now heads to the governor’s desk, where it awaits his final approval to become law.

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Joe Plesha
Press Secretary
Alaska House Majority
(907) 465-6791
Joe.Plesha@akleg.gov

 

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