August 25, 2021

House-Passed Budget Resolution Paves Way for Affordable Housing, Services Investments

BY Juliana Bilowich

On August 24, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Resolution, which sets the stage for Congress to consider $3.5 trillion in “care economy” infrastructure investments. Included for consideration are billions for affordable housing and home and community based services (HCBS) investments benefitting older adults.

The Senate previously approved the budget resolution, paving the way for Congress to use a process called budget reconciliation to advance care economy legislation without bipartisan support. Next, the congressional committees in both the House and the Senate will allocate the $3.5 trillion to various investment priorities, including for HUD programs and for HCBS. The effort could also advance key policy changes for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which funds the majority of new affordable housing development across the country.

The care economy legislation is moving parallel to the bipartisan effort on more traditional infrastructure investments. This includes investments for roads, bridges, and broadband access, but includes little for affordable housing or home and community based services. 

HUD and White House Support Strong Housing Investments

During an August 24th briefing on the House- and Senate-passed budget resolution, HUD Secretary Marsha Fudge and key White House staff reiterated their commitment to strong investments in affordable housing and community development programs. The President’s proposal for care economy infrastructure investments includes an emphasis on expanding affordable housing for older adults; LeadingAge applauds Secretary Fudge and the White House for their leadership on behalf of older adults.

LeadingAge Member Advocacy Needed Now

In Congress, the House committees plan to complete their work after Labor Day, which leaves only a small window for advocacy on behalf of older adults. LeadingAge is advocating for the following investments, and LeadingAge members can easily add their voice during this critical time:

  • $7.5 billion for HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program to expand the supply of affordable senior housing, increase the number of Service Coordinators, allow for age-friendly building retrofits, extend the IWISH demonstration program, and provide internet in HUD-assisted homes.
  • $400 billion for Home and Community-Based Services, including: sufficient funding to identify and serve older people who are eligible, increasing FMAP for HCBS by 10 points for 10 years, double investment in Older Americans Act supportive services, connecting HCBS and HUD-assisted units, incentivizing states to expand the PACE model, and investing in new models of care to support older adults in home and community.
  • $55 billion to increase Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes so they can pay wages that enable them to recruit and retain staff, especially front line workers.
  • $1 billion investment in the aging services workforce to implement strategies to strengthen recruitment, career and training opportunities that our nation’s direct care workers need to care for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities.