$6M to Boost PRAC Rents for RAD Conversions

Legislation | October 18, 2021 | by Linda Couch

Senate’s HUD FY22 funding bill includes key asks for affordable senior housing.

RAD for PRAC Rent Increases

The Senate HUD appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022, released for the first time on October 18, would provide $6 million to Section 202 PRAC (Project Rental Assistance Contract) communities to “support preservation transactions originally developed with a capital advance and assisted by a PRAC.” This is a victory for LeadingAge, which has advocated for funds to increase 202/PRAC rents prior to PRACs being converted to the Section 8 platform under the Rental Assistance Demonstration preservation program. The House’s FY22 bill does not include any funds to increase PRAC rents prior to RAD conversion.

New Section 202 Housing

The Senate bill includes $44 million for new Section 202 homes; the House bill included $205 million for new Section 202 homes.

Contract Renewals

The Senate bill includes $78,000,000 within the Section 202 account to enable the HUD to shift Section 202/PRAC contract renewal funding to a calendar year basis. Both the Senate and House bills would provide full funding for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance and PRAC renewals.

Service Coordinators

For Service Coordinators, the Senate bill provides the same amount, $125 million, but the Senate bill’s report clearly states these funds are for Service Coordinator renewals, while the House bill’s $125 million leaves open the possibility that some of the funding could be used for new Service Coordinators if not needed for renewals. The Senate bill would like any additional resources to be used instead on Service Coordinator salaries and retention. “Retention rates for service coordinators have declined as educational requirements for the position have increased, but salaries have remained stagnant. This turnover not only disrupts the ability of the Department to provide grants that are utilized each year, but also breaks needed continuity in low-income elderly households’ access to supportive services. The Committee encourages the Department to continue its ongoing work to improve retention rates by allowing grantees to increase salaries for service coordinators to market-appropriate rates, where justified,” the Senate bill’s report says.

Overall, both the House and Senate FY22 HUD bills would fund the Section 202 account more than President Biden’s FY22 request would.

Broadband

Outside of the Section 202 account, the Senate bill’s report urges HUD to “use the tools at its disposal to address the existing gap in broadband access prevalent among residents living in public and HUD-assisted housing.” “The [Senate Appropriations] Committee encourages the Department to consider the particular accommodations and needs of specific populations, such as elderly residents and residents with disabilities during the development and implementation of these programs and initiatives,” the report says.

Continuing Resolution

While the House has passed each of its 12 FY22 appropriations bill, the Senate has not passed any (including the HUD funding bill). The federal government is currently operating on a continuing resolution, which keeps federal programs funded at FY21 levels through December 3. The FY22 federal fiscal year began on October 1, 2021.