Housing Highlights from HEROES Act Relief Bill

Legislation | May 12, 2020 | by Linda Couch

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a coronavirus relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, the HEROES Act, on May 12. The 1800-page bill includes various programs to stabilize the renters and homeowners during the pandemic, including funding for HUD affordable senior housing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a coronavirus relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, the HEROES Act, on May 12. The 1800-page bill includes various programs to stabilize the renters and homeowners during the pandemic, including funding for HUD affordable senior housing.

For HUD, the bill includes $500 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and $750 million for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Of the Section 202 resources, $300 million is to expand the number of Service Coordinators, a key LeadingAge ask. The remaining $200 million in the bill for the Section 202 account is for COVID-related expenses. Within HUD’s Section 8 PBRA program, 45% of PBRA units either directly subsidize Section 202 communities or provide the operating subsidy for elderly-only Section 8 communities. Thus, the $750 million for PBRA in the bill will help senior housing communities respond to COVID-related needs.

The bill provides $2 billion for public housing agencies for the operation and management of the nation’s almost 1 million public housing units, about 33% of which are led by older adults. The bill also includes $1 billion for new, temporary, vouchers for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, or who are fleeing domestic violence.

The bill also includes $100 billion for a new Emergency Rental Assistance program, to be administered through HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grants program, to help renters avoid eviction, $75 million for a homeowner relief fund to be administered by state housing finance agencies, and $5 billion for the very flexible Community Development Block Grant program, which will go to state and local governments for a for a wide variety of uses.

LeadingAge continues to support a $1.2 billion package of relief for HUD-assisted affordable senior housing. While Speaker Pelosi’s package would provide significantly greater, and critically needed, resources than the March 27, LeadingAge continues to advocate for $50 million for the installation and service fees for wireless internet in about 1600 senior communities and additional COVID-support resources for HUD’s Section 202 and Section 8 PBRA programs.

Soon, bills in the House and Senate will be introduced by key members of congress that include the $1.2 billion package for HUD-assisted seniors in Section 202 and Section 8 PBRA communities.

The HEROES Act would also extend the CARES Act’s 120 day moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent for a one year period beginning on the date of enactment of the HEROES Act. The HEROES Act’s eviction moratorium would apply to all dwelling units, regardless of whether they are subsidized or backed by a federal mortgage program, and regardless of whether a signed lease is in place.

Please look for additional information soon about more provisions of the HEROES Act.