Appropriators Direct HUD to Distribute Sec. 202 and IWISH Funds, Address Lack of Internet

Legislation | June 29, 2022 | by Linda Couch

The House FY23 HUD bill’s report expresses LeadingAge’s concerns on HUD delays in distributing new Section 202 and IWISH demonstration funding as well as the importance of building-wide internet in Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

The House FY23 HUD bill’s report expresses LeadingAge’s concerns on HUD delays in distributing new Section 202 and IWISH demonstration funding as well as the importance of building-wide internet in Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

Many interesting facets of the House’s HUD appropriations bill for the next fiscal year were revealed this morning when the report accompanying the spending bill was released.

The bill, to be voted on in the full House Committee on Appropriations on June 30, would provide a total of $62.7 billion for HUD – an increase of $9 billion above fiscal year 2022. As revealed in the bill passed out of the HUD Appropriations Subcommittee on June 23, the bill would provide more than a 16% increase for HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly account.

As revealed in the report accompanying the bill, the bill’s $1.2 billion for the Section 202 program includes $323 million for about 3,500 new Section 202 homes (compared to $199 million for new Section 202 homes in FY22) “to address the acute shortage of affordable housing for seniors.” Of the $323 million, $25 million is for new intergenerational housing under the Section 202 program.

The bill’s accompanying report is where federal appropriators go beyond dollar amounts and express goals and frustrations with the programs funded by the bill.

LeadingAge is pleased that the bill’s report reflects several concerns and areas for HUD remediation expressed to appropriators by LeadingAge:

  • New Section 202 Awards: LeadingAge stakeholders have fought hard to revive and expand HUD’s Section 202 program and Congress has heard our call. Since 2018, Congress has provided $820 million for new Section 202 construction and operating subsidy. But, only a portion of these dollars have been released as housing costs continue to rise and affordability challenges increase. “To date, the Department has awarded a total of $220,747,752 for 54 awards to create an estimated 3,631 units for very low-income seniors. The Committee directs the Department to make all remaining funding provided in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 available within 60 days of enactment of this Act, and to award that funding within 180 days of enactment of this Act,” the report says. (Unfortunately, the final FY22 HUD funding bill included language directing HUD to “make all remaining funding provided in fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021 available within 60 days of enactment of this act, and to award that funding within 180 days of enactment of this act.” The FY22 HUD bill was enacted on March 15, 2022, and HUD has yet to make these funds available.)
  • IWISH: On the continuation of HUD’s Integrated Wellness in Supportive Housing (IWISH) 40-site demonstration, LeadingAge has been clear with HUD and appropriators of our frustration with continued delays in the distribution of IWISH demonstration extension funding to the 40 sites. “The Committee is concerned about reports of delays with the IWISH demonstration and directs the Department to provide an update to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on its progress to execute the IWISH demonstration within 60 days of enactment of this Act,” the report says.
  • Internet in Section 202 Communities: The bill’s report directly reflects LeadingAge’s concerns about the lack of internet in HUD-assisted senior housing communities. The report accompanying the House Committee’s FY22 HUD bill directs HUD to report to House and Senate appropriators. “The Committee notes that units assisted by HUD’s Section 202 housing for the elderly sparingly have access to broadband. As a result, many low-income seniors lack access to common solutions during the COVID–19 pandemic such as telemedicine and remote visits. The Committee directs HUD to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the barriers to building-wide internet services for current Section 202 units specifically within 180 days of enactment of this Act,” the report says.

HUD Workforce, Accessible Units, REAC Inspections

The report accompanying the bill includes several other issues of interest to affordable senior housing providers, including HUD workforce and employee retention issues and increasing the number of accessible HUD-assisted units.

On REAC inspections, “The Committee is troubled by reports of deplorable living conditions found in some HUD-subsidized properties across the country,” the report says. “The scope of this issue spans geographic regions, highlights systemic problems, and calls into question the effectiveness of HUD’s oversight, and the real estate assessment center (REAC) inspections of HUD-assisted housing.” The Committee directs HUD to work with it on enforcement actions, including civil monetary penalties, that HUD can take to ensure PHAs and landlords maintain the physical quality of HUD-assisted units.

Reports & Directives

The Committee directs GAO to do a report, in consultation with HUD, HHS, and the USICH, on the current state of affordable housing properties that provide wrap-around supportive services and to provide recommendations on how these services can be improved.

To hear from GAO on a report requested in 2022 on a cost-analysis of HUD-assisted household spending on rent and utilities.

The Committee directs GAO to do a report on alternative methods HUD cold consider for calculating area median income (AMI).

The Committee’s report directs HUD to work with authorizing committees to consider increasing the percentage cap on project-based vouchers in order “to expand housing opportunities for populations such as those with special needs.”

The Committee directs GAO to do a comprehensive evaluation of staff capacity across the entire Department, including in the field, regional, and headquarters offices, in consultation with the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.

Senate Action

The Senate has yet to take any action on its FY23 HUD appropriations bill or accompanying report and no action is expected until after Labor Day. Thus, advocates have time to encourage the strongest possible funding for affordable senior housing in the Senate's FY23 HUD bill. See LeadingAge's action alert for affordable senior housing funding

Read more about the House's HUD Appropriations Subcommittee's consideration of the FY23 HUD funding bill.

Read more about the content of House's HUD Appropriations Subcommittee's FY23 funding bill and what it would mean for affordable senior housing here.