LeadingAge Statement on HUD Inspection Suspension for Coronavirus

Press Release | March 13, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

LeadingAge comments on the HUD announcement.

LeadingAge Statement on HUD Inspection Suspension for Coronavirus 

Agency’s Initiative Follows LeadingAge Mar. 6 Letter to White House Coronavirus Task Force
Asking for Attention to Needs of Millions of Older Adults Living in HUD-Assisted Communities 

March 13, 2020 Washington D.C. -- LeadingAge, the association of mission-driven, aging-focused service providers, including affordable housing communities, applauds the decision announced today by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to postpone property inspections on all HUD-assisted multifamily and public housing, including senior housing, until further notice. According to HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) website, all multifamily and public housing inspections will be postponed until further notice, except where there is a threat to life or property at a specific location. 

Postponing in-unit inspections for LeadingAge members and other providers of HUD-assisted housing while the U.S. grapples with containment of the novel coronavirus is one of the key requests put to the agency by LeadingAge in its Mar. 6, 2020 letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force and subsequent agency requests.

LeadingAge strongly supports HUD’s temporary inspection postponement, which will allow the thousands of HUD-assisted community providers serving older adults to prioritize the health and well-being of residents and staff during this crisis. 

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health organizations have in no uncertain terms identified older adults as a population at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. HUD-assisted communities are home to millions of older adults, many living wiht chronic medical conditions. Our members strive to ensure that older adults living in HUD-assisted housing communities can age in place and with dignity. In this time of pandemic, it is crucial that older adults and housing providers are able to take precautionary steps to prevent or cotnain the virus’ spread, including self-quarantining, as necessary,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge. “Postponing in-unit inspections at this time will benefit residents, providers and the broader community.” 

On Mar. 12, HUD released a document responding to many, but not all, of LeadingAge’s questions put to the agency on behalf of members. Says Linda Couch, vice president, housing policy at LeadingAge: “HUD’s actions today are heartening. We’re hopeful that this proactive step to ensure the health and safety of the 1.6 million older adults living in HUD-assisted communities will be followed by others as outlined in our Mar. 6 letter. Our asks range from regulatory waivers to continued access for residents to services and supplies, to quarantine response, if necessary. We look forward to working closely with HUD in supporting our older adults.” (Read letter to Vice President Mike Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force)

The threat posed by the coronavirus spread is significant. Said one LeadingAge provider of HUD-assisted housing for older adults: “We expect to have to quarantine every resident in the worst case scenario, figure out how to get them food and water. … We are concerned about staff exposure. We are just 8 people taking care of 165 people who need help.” 

To date, no diagnoses of COVID-19 have been reported among residents living in HUD-assisted communities. LeadingAge hopes this will not change. “But wishing is not enough,” said Ms. Couch. “We urge action.”