LeadingAge to Hill: Housing is Infrastructure

Legislation | March 26, 2021

On March 26, LeadingAge president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan sent a letter to housing authorizing committees on our wish-list for affordable housing within any infrastructure package. President Biden is expected to release an outline of his infrastructure proposal, Build Back Better, the week of March 29 and congressional hearings have begun on the topic.

On March 26, LeadingAge president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan sent a letter to housing authorizing committees on our wish-list for affordable housing within any infrastructure package. President Biden is expected to release an outline of his infrastructure proposal, Build Back Better, the week of March 29 and congressional hearings have begun on the topic.

LeadingAge’s housing priorities for an infrastructure bill include:

Expanding the supply of senior affordable housing by investing $2.5 billion in HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. A $2.5 billion investment for capital advances and project rental assistance contracts will provide approximately 54,000 affordable senior homes through HUD’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program. Today, 2.6 million older adult renter households spend more than half of their incomes on housing, too often forcing them to choose between rent, food, and medicine. This $2.5 billion proposal is consistent with the 116th Congress’s S. 2951, H.R. 5187, and H.R. 2, the House-passed Moving Forward Act.

Providing internet access in affordable housing to ensure the more than 2.2 million older adults in federally subsidized affordable housing buildings have basic internet access. This can be achieved by updating HUD, Treasury, and USDA utility definitions to include broadband as a subsidized utility and updating the subsidized housing infrastructure by retrofitting units with the necessary wiring for high-quality broadband. We urge any package to include the Broadband Justice Act, H.R. 1904, which authorizes $5 billion for broadband as a utility and such sums as may be necessary for wiring and installation for HUD, USDA, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit homes.

Establishing a capital pool for age-friendly retrofits to meet building design needs in the HUD-subsidized housing stock. LeadingAge supports a $1 billion pool of capital funds, administered by HUD under a new Age-Friendly Retrofit Program, to help current and future older adult households live in independent housing for as long as they choose to do so.

Read the letter here.