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Mayor Bowser Announces Legislation to Protect DC Seniors and Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation and Abuse

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today, at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, Mayor Bowser recognized the tremendous contributions of the late Ms. Hattie Holmes and highlighted proposed legislation that will protect District seniors and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation and abuse. The Mayor was joined at the celebration by Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services HyeSook Chung, and the DC Office on Aging Director Laura Newland.

“Today, we are driven by a commitment to making Washington, DC a city where residents of all ages can thrive, and this new legislation will help us do that,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue building an age-friendly DC, it is a privilege to pay homage to the late Hattie Holmes, one of our city’s chief advocates for District seniors.”

The North American Securities Administrators Association estimates that seniors and vulnerable adults suffer annual losses of at least $3 billion because of financial exploitation and abuse. This week, with the Council back in session, Mayor Bowser submitted legislation to protect Washingtonians from these types of financial crimes.

The Protection of Seniors and Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act of 2017 establishes a mandatory reporting requirement of suspected financial exploitation for insurance companies, securities firms, and banks. The Act also allows financial firms to temporarily delay payments related to suspicious transactions.

The Vulnerable Population and Employer Protection Amendment Act of 2017 gives the Mayor authority to suspend or restrict the license, registration, or certification, of a person who engages in the financial exploitation of a patient, client, or employer. This would enable DC government to move swiftly and decisively to disrupt those who would pray on vulnerable populations.

“If enacted, this legislation will be an aggressive step forward in making sure we have the tools necessary to protect DC residents as they age,” said Director Newland.

The Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center is located in Ward 4 in the former Kennedy Theatre. When the center first opened in 2007, it was named the Kennedy Senior Wellness Center until then-Councilmember Bowser proposed legislation to rename the center after former ANC Commissioner and community activist, Hattie Holmes.

Since taking office in 2015, Mayor Bowser has launched a range of innovative initiatives and programs that support DC’s senior residents, including Safe at Home, a program that helps seniors age in place. Since launching in 2016, the Safe at Home program has already installed safety adaptions in the homes of nearly 700 DC seniors and residents with disabilities, reducing the risk of falls and other injuries. Earlier this year, the Mayor announced that eligible Safe at Home clients can also apply to have private security cameras installed on their property, free of charge.

Additionally, through Age-Friendly DC, the Bowser Administration has worked with the World Health Organization to transform Washington, DC into an easier place to grow older. The District is now on pace to become only the third US city designated by the World Health Organization as an Age-Friendly City.