Congress proposes bill to fund internet, service coordination in senior housing

Legislation | May 15, 2020 | by Juliana Bilowich

California lawmakers propose key LeadingAge requests for senior housing relief during COVID-19.

On May 14th, Congresswoman Katie Porter and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters proposed a new bill to support senior housing residents and providers during the COVID-19 crisis. The bill would bring $1.2 billion dollars of relief to affordable housing communities and residents nationwide.

The bill, titled the “Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act of 2020,” incorporates key LeadingAge requests for relief, including funding for internet capacity in senior housing communities, expansion of service coordination in senior housing, general operating and subsidy funds for HUD Section 202, and an extension of HUD’s IWISH demonstration program.

The Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act of 2020 (H.R.6873) totals 1.2b in supplemental assistance for older adults in HUD-assisted housing. Specifically, the bill proposes each of LeadingAge’s key funding requests for affordable senior housing communities navigating the impacts of the crisis:

  • $845 million for HUD Section 202 for hiring additional staff and for services and costs, including acquiring personal protective equipment, to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the public health emergency relating to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic
  • $50 million for installation of, and service fees for, wireless internet services in projects and individual units
  • $7 million for a 1-year extension of the Supportive Services Demonstration (SSD) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • $300 million for costs of providing service coordinators grants to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the public health emergency relating to COVID-19

We applaud Representative Porter (D-CA-45) and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Waters (D-CA-43) for their leadership on behalf of older adults. LeadingAge strongly supports the bill and will continue work with the Senate to introduce companion legislation. More information about the bill is available here.