HUD Requests More & Better Housing from Congress

Legislation | May 28, 2021 | by Linda Couch

On May 28, the White House sent its full fiscal year 2022 budget request to Congress. Overall, the request seeks a 15.1%, or $9 billion, increase for HUD. The fiscal year 2022 request is in addition to the resources the Biden Administration is seeking as part of the American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal. The May 28 full fiscal year 2022 budget request expands on an abbreviated budget request released on April 9, as is common for new Administrations.

On May 28, the White House sent its full fiscal year 2022 budget request to Congress. Overall, the request seeks a 15.1%, or $9 billion, increase for HUD. The fiscal year 2022 request is in addition to the resources the Biden Administration is seeking as part of the American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal. The May 28 full fiscal year 2022 budget request expands on an abbreviated budget request released on April 9, as is common for new Administrations.

Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly

The request seeks a total of $928 million for the Section 202 account, more than an 8% increase compared to fiscal year 2021 funding level for the account.

Of the $928 million, HUD requests $100 million to construct and operate new Section 202 housing. In FY21, Congress provided $52 million for new Section 202 homes. The Administration’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal includes a separate ask for $2 billion for new Section 202 housing.

The May 28 request would also fully renew and amend operating subsidy contracts for existing Section 202 housing including Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts. As stated throughout the budget request documents for various accounts, the budget request levels assume “that adverse impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic will gradually begin to subside and the start of a transition to normalcy within the last quarter of 2021, with strides towards full economic recovery well underway by the start of 2022.”

As part of the Section 202 account, the request also seeks $125 million for Service Coordinators, the same amount provided for FY21. These FY22 funds would renew the approximately 1,600 existing Service Coordinator and Congregate Housing Services grants. Any amounts for new Service Coordinator awards from this amount would be determined based on the results of the forthcoming 2021 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), made possible by funds from the FY21 appropriations bill.

Project-Based Rental Assistance

The Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program provides the operating subsidy for about two-thirds of all Section 202 homes and, on its own, provides ongoing operating subsidy for hundreds of thousands of affordable senior housing homes.

HUD’s request for FY22 for PBRA would fully fund 12 months’ of contracts for the approximately 17,200 privately owned, PBRA-subsidized multifamily housing buildings by paying the difference between a portion of a household's income and the approved market-based rent for a housing unit.

The PBRA account also includes a new $30 million for budget-based rent increases for Service Coordinators. This $30 million increase for PBRA contract renewals and amendments would support budget-based rent increases (BBRIs) at Section 202/8 properties to cover the cost of a Service Coordinator to help older adult residents stay healthy and age in place. “Service Coordination is recognized as a cost effective means to support seniors aging-in-place and prevent premature institutionalization in nursing homes,” the budget request says. These rent increases would be limited to circumstances where budget-based rent adjustments are allowed by statutory program authorizations but have been constrained in recent years by HUD policies designed to slow program cost growth. HUD would modify its rent adjustment procedures to reflect availability of the requested funds.

The Administration is also seeking $250 million for a new “Green and Resilient Retrofit Program” to provide grants and loans to owners of HUD multifamily-assisted properties (PBRA, Section 202, Section 811) to rehabilitate properties to be more energy efficient, healthier, and more resilient to extreme weather events. “This program would support climate resilience and energy efficiency and would reduce the likelihood of catastrophic damage from future disasters. In addition, the program would yield additional savings by reducing energy and water consumption and it would improve indoor air quality,” the budget request documents say.  

Also part of the Administration’s request for the PBRA account is $10 million for technical assistance to tenant groups, nonprofit groups, and public entities to support tenants of troubled properties and improve tenant access to community services in order to support self-sufficiency.

The budget request is in addition to the Administration's proposal to provide $2 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance in the American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal, which will provide operating subsidy for new rental assistance contracts.

Rental Assistance Demonstration

In its budget request, the Administration is asking Congress to exclude existing Service Coordinators and service costs from the 120% of Fair Market Rent (FMR) rent cap for new Section 8 contracts so that properties serving older adults can effectively be preserved without losing access to critical services following a RAD conversion to PBRA or project-based vouchers.

The request also seeks to expand the Rental Assistance Demonstration program to include Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities Project Rental Assistance Contracts (811 PRACs) and Senior Project Rental Assistance Contracts (SPRACs) to modernize housing for very low income elderly persons and persons with disabilities.

The request also seeks a total of $100 million to facilitate the conversion of public housing for long-term financial stability and for promoting the energy efficiency or climate resilience of properties that convert to PBRA or PBVs, but does not seek additional funds to facilitate 202 PRAC conversions.

Other Pieces of Interest

  • The budget request includes $1.6 billion for new incremental housing choice vouchers for 200,000 additional households, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • The budget request seeks $1.85 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME); FY21 funding for the HOME program is $1.35 billion.
  • The budget request seeks a total of $3.5 billion for a wide range of activities to assist homeless persons and prevent future occurrences of homelessness; FY21 funding for homeless assistance programs is $3 billion.
  • The budget request seeks $85 million for fair housing activities to support efforts to end housing discrimination; FY21 funding for fair housing is $72.5 million. The fair housing request includes $1 million for the Limited English Proficiency Initiative (LEPI), which is funded at $350,000 in FY21. LEPI provides funds for oral interpretation and written translation services, which help make HUD programs and activities accessible to people who are not proficient in English.

LeadingAge is generally very pleased with HUD’s FY22 request, particularly when paired with the $2 billion being sought by Administration for new Section 202 homes as part of the American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal.

Aging services stakeholders are urged to contact their members of Congress to express support for, minimally, the funding levels in this request and to support LeadingAge’s FY22 and housing infrastructure priorities. House, and perhaps Senate, appropriations committees are expected to begin formal consideration of their respective FY22 HUD appropriations bills in June.