Foundation claims to reduce nursing home crime while bolstering low-income communities

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A Tennessee-based organization claims that it has reduced nursing home crimes by more than 90% through an innovative program that gives up to 250 banks “risk-free” credits.

The Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation works to help banks comply with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a 1977 federal law that requires banks to bolster the economies of the low-income neighborhoods if they seek to expand, Bloomberg News reported. Since many nursing home residents are at low- to moderate-income levels, instead of investing in housing projects or small business loans, the foundation's participating banks have paid for personal lockboxes for residents. Other investments include a 24-hour crime-reporting hotline and entertainment including karaoke machines and video game systems.

The program is structured in a way that allows the banks to put their money into government bonds, keep any returns above a 1% fee to Senior Crimestoppers, and get their principal back after seven years, Bloomberg found.

It also learned that 92.5% reduction in crime figure touted by Senior Crimestoppers isn't rigorously calculated. Some nursing home administrators say residents don't need lockboxes because they already have locking dresser drawers, according to Bloomberg.

Critics say the program doesn't provide a true investment in the community, but allows banks to circumvent substantive CRA investment.

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