Draft Bill Circulated on Housing COVID-19 Relief

Legislation | March 26, 2021 | by Linda Couch

The House Committee on Financial Services is circulating a discussion draft of the Supporting Seniors and Tenants in Subsidized Housing Act. The draft bill, a version of 2020’s Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act introduced in the House (as HR 6873) and Senate (as S 4177). The draft bill is sponsored by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance.

The House Committee on Financial Services is circulating a discussion draft of the Supporting Seniors and Tenants in Subsidized Housing Act. The draft bill, a version of 2020’s Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act introduced in the House (as HR 6873) and Senate (as S 4177). The draft bill is sponsored by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance.

The bill, spearheaded by LeadingAge, would provide financial relief COVID-19-related expenses, including funding for new Service Coordinators, funding for the installation and service fees for building-wide wireless internet, and funding to cover an array of COVID-19 expenses amassed by HUD-assisted affordable senior housing providers.

The March 2020 CARES Act provided $1 billion in COVID-19 relief for Project-Based Rental Assistance and $50 million for the Section 202 program, including $10 million for grant-funded Service Coordinators. Of the $1,050,000,000, HUD earmarked $825 million to make up for lost tenant rent payments ($810 million for PBRA and $15 million for Section 202) and $225 million for COVID-19-related expense relief.

Of the $225 million to be used for COVID-19 relief, HUD officials told housing advocates this month that more than $100 million remains unspent. HUD is about to issue a third round of applications for COVID-19 Supplemental Payments (CSPs). LeadingAge has urged HUD to expand eligible uses for the CSP funds, including for meals, laundry, transportation support, testing and vaccine clinics costs at properties, appreciation pay for staff, and some technology costs. LeadingAge has also urged a longer application windows and for eligible uses to be known prior to the CSP application window beginning (the narrow application windows have been at the end of 4-month CSP reimbursement periods, making it impossible to know exactly what permissible expenses are).

LeadingAge is grateful to Chair Cleaver for his leadership on this important discussion draft and looks forward to working with his office towards its official introduction.