Senate Package Has Nothing for Section 8 PBRA- or Section 202-Assisted Older Adults

Legislation | July 28, 2020 | by Linda Couch, Linda Couch

Calls and emails are need to House and Senate members to include affordable senior housing relief in the next COVID-19 package.

On July 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-NY) and several Senate Committee chairs released, piecemeal, the Senate's COVID-19 relief package. The Senate Republican package includes no resources or other relief for privately owned, HUD-assisted multifamily programs like Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, Section 202, or Section 811. Nor does the package extend the evictions moratorium for nonpayment of rent for federally-assisted housing. The moratorium expired on July 25.

Senate majority and minority members, the White House, and the House are now in heated negotiations over what the next COVID-19 relief package, hoped to be finalized by August 7, will include. The House-passed HEROES Act does include several hundred million in relief for HUD-assisted senior housing providers, as well as another of LeadingAge’s key asks: $300 million for Service Coorinators.

Affordable senior housing stakeholders are strongly urged to contact their members of Congress as soon as possible to ask for inclusion of LeadingAge's affordable senior housing priorities in the next COVID-19 relief package.

The Senate package does nothing to address the needs of more 750,000 older adults in HUD federally-subsidized and privately-owned housing programs. Affordable senior housing providers, the majority of whom are nonprofit, have been hemorrhaging funds since March to prevent the virus from harming residents and staff. Yet, the Senate bill does nothing to help ensure apartment communities, home to residents with incomes below $14,000 a year, can be kept clean and disinfected while allowing residents to access the services they need to remain in independent housing. We expect much more from Congress and urge inclusion of $300 million for Service Coordinators, $50 million for wireless internet for telehealth and to combat social isolation, and for $845 million to pay for the cleaning, PPE, services, staffing, security, and more that affordable senior housing communities continue to provide as the virus rages on.