Affordable Housing

Part of LeadingAge's 2021 Policy Priorities



LEADINGAGE ADVOCACY GOALS

  • Support funding for the significant expansion of affordable senior housing.
  • Support funding for the expansion of service coordinators
  • Support full renewal funding.
  • Support an entitlement to housing assistance for eligible households.
  • Support strong housing preservation programs.
  • Surpass normal funding levels and regulatory frameworks to meet the challenges of COVID-19 for affordable senior housing residents and providers.
  • Support structural and services needs for aging in the community.
  • Support funding for wireless internet.
  • Prevent and end homelessness among older adults.
  • Support HUD processes and requirements that correspond to the safe operation of affordable senior housing.
  • Support housing quality with robust inspection protocols, and tenant and owner input.
  • Identify and support financing options for health, including mental health, services in HUD-assisted housing.

LeadingAge members are saying:

  • “COVID-19 has run a train through our community. The relief we got months ago covered previous expenses. Affordable senior housing providers need extraordinary help to run our buildings and keep residents mentally and physically healthy.”
  • “We could use it all. The 202 program is magic, but we’d take new vouchers - we could project-base them, we’d take tax credits but they’d work better if the rents weren’t so high for the seniors we want to serve. The well has been too dry for too long.”

 THE ISSUE

COVID-19 has made crystal clear the linchpin role the federal government has in affordable senior housing, as well as how critical the connection between housing and healthcare is. Across federal programs, more than 2.5 million older adults receive some form of housing assistance. The majority of these older adults live in subsidized apartment communities where residents each rely on their own set of services and supports that allow them to age in the community. Congress must act on, by investing in, the proven role affordable housing has in improving older adults’ health and lowering the nation’s health care costs, significantly expand the supply of affordable housing and preserve existing affordable housing. A large proportion of these are people of color. Providers of federally-assisted housing rely on HUD and Congress for timely rental assistance and service coordinator funding to meet their needs, and uniformly understood and implemented rules and protocols. 

ADVOCACY ACTION 2021                                                             

117th Congress

  • Fiscal Year 2022 HUD Appropriations Bill.
    • We support the following HUD funding for the FY22 appropriations bill:
      • $600 million for approximately 6,700 new Section 202 Housing for the Elderly homes. There is a significant, nationwide need to expand the supply of affordable senior housing.
      • $100 million for 400 new three-year Service Coordinator grants. Only 45% of 202 communities have a service coordinator
      • $100 million for the installation and service fees for building-wide internet in 3,300 senior housing communities.
      • Full renewal funding for rental assistance contract renewals (Project-Based Rental Assistance and Project Rental Assistance Contracts) and Service Coordinator grant renewals. FY22 renewal costs must assume increased costs from insurance premium increases, additional cleaning and disinfecting and air ventilation adaptations, as well as increased rents as PRAC communities prepare for conversion under the Rental Assistance Demonstration.
      • Support RAD for PRAC improvements:
        • Expand Rental Assistance Demonstration to include Section 202 Senior Preservation Assistance Contracts.
        • Exempt properties converting on a budget-neutral basis from Section 202 PRACs and Section 202 SPRACs (if authorized, see next sentence) from initial rent setting provisions of the Section 8 statute in order to continue critical services for older adults and prevent a reduction of project funding.
        • Provide a $3 million pool to accommodate increased rents upon conversion.
  • Housing Infrastructure.
    • Invest at least $2.5 billion in HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program to build 27,000 affordable senior homes. This $2.5 billion proposal is consistent with the 116th Congress’s S. 2951, H.R. 5187, and H.R. 2, the House-passed Moving Forward Act.
    • More Service Coordinators. Invest $1 billion for 3,867 three-year Service Coordinator contracts for the HUD-assisted senior communities currently without one. Only half of HUD-assisted senior housing has a Service Coordinator, the lynchpin between residents and home and community based services.
    • Providing internet access in affordable housing to ensure the more than 2.2 million older adults in federally-subsidized affordable housing buildings have basic internet access. We urge any package to include the Broadband Justice Act, H.R. 1904, which authorizes $5 billion for broadband as a utility and such sums as may be necessary for wiring and installation for all HUD, USDA, and Housing Credit homes.
    • Establishing a capital pool for age-friendly retrofits to meet building design needs in the HUD-subsidized housing stock. LeadingAge supports a $1 billion pool of capital funds, administered by HUD under a new Age-Friendly Retrofit Program, to help current and future older adult households live in independent housing for as long as they choose to do so. Funds can be used for COVID-responsive ventilation systems, to make more federally-subsidized units fully accessible to meet existing and future needs, and to create and/or modernize physical spaces for services.
  •  

Executive Branch

  • COVID-19. Support Biden-Harris proposals for COVID-19 testing, PPE, national guidance, distribution of treatments and vaccines, and protecting Older Americans and others at high risk.
  • Vaccine distribution. We support seamless implementation of the Pharmacy Partnership, including inclusion of affordable senior housing settings, and rapid, efficient distribution of vaccines to all individuals over age 65. We support HHS implementation of consumer education programs to encourage immunization.
  • Protect residents and staff from COVID infection. Ensure that residents and staff of all affordable senior housing settings have access to a fully-funded national testing program. We support HHS (including HRSA) bringing mobile testing to affordable senior housing communities.
  • Expanded Housing. Support Biden-Harris proposals to provide Section 8 housing vouchers to every eligible family and significantly expand the supply of affordable housing.
  • Property Assessments: Partner with HUD to ensure new Real Estate Assessment Center inspection protocols and Management and Occupancy Reviews accurately and uniformly capture the state of the assisted housing stock, and that the needs of older adults are represented through any protocol changes.
  • RAD for PRAC: Implement successful expansion of the Rental Assistance Demonstration to Section 202s with Project Rental Assistance Contracts.
  • Streamlining: Continue improving and streamlining housing rent setting and other processes, including through full implementation of HOTMA.
  • Fair Housing and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Support robust Fair Housing Act implementation and enforcement and reverse rules negatively impacting fair housing access. Restore HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule; restore HUD’s 2016 rule to provide Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development programs; reverse HUD’s Mixed Status proposal; support reversal of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Public Charge” immigration rule; revoke Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Strengthen partnerships between private housing providers and the federal government to improve housing operations.
  • Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Update HUD’s requirements and supports to reflect pandemic-informed housing operational needs.
  • Service-Enriched Housing: Support partnerships between federal agencies to improve access to services in senior housing communities. Support HUD and CMS work on financing models for services in affordable senior housing.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW

  • Visit the Advocacy Action Center to let your representative and senators know you support the expansion and preservation of affordable housing programs for older adults.
  • Host a Coffee Chat with Congress in your community to help your members of Congress understand how policies impact affordable housing providers and residents.
  • Mobilize with the Advocacy Champions toolkit and let your representatives and senators know you support more opportunities to create and sustain affordable housing

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES