HUD allocates additional CARES Act funds; relief delayed for senior communities

Regulation | May 20, 2020 | by Juliana Bilowich

The CARES Act approved financial relief from COVID-19 for HUD-assisted senior housing communities, but providers are still waiting for relief.

On March 27th, lawmakers enacted the CARES Act, which provided relief for communities navigating COVID-19. To help housing providers prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, the law approved millions in additional subsidy through HUD for Section 202 Support Housing for the Elderly, a portion of which can be used toward service coordination. Other HUD programs, including Project-based Rental Assistance (PBRA), also received significant relief funding; nearly half of PBRA program households are senior-led.

On May 18th, HUD allocated the fourth wave of its CARES Act funds for the Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program. The allocation provided nearly $77 million from the CARES Act toward housing vouchers for non-elderly people living with disabilities; the funds support up to 8,300 additional housing vouchers. Earlier HUD allocations provided relief funds for the Community Development Block Grant program, homeless assistance programs, and public housing.

However, HUD-assisted senior housing providers are still waiting for financial relief. The Section 202 and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance funding was designed to make up for reduced resident rent payments as a result of the coronavirus, maintain housing stability, and to help communities pay for costs associated with the coronavirus. Up to $10 million was also provided by the CARES Act for Service Coordinators. LeadingAge understand that HUD continues to work on how those funds will be distributed.

Some of the funds are continuously allocated to providers through the interim recertification process: The CARES Act funding offsets the need for subsidy increases for households that are paying less in rent due to income loss. However, this approach disregards unbudgeted expenses incurred due to the crisis; providers are stretching thin budgets to pay for extra cleaning, security, and supplies to keep residents safely house throughout the pandemic.

LeadingAge continues to urge HUD to allocate Section 202 funds for operating account shortfalls, and to utilize CARES Act-authorized waiver authority to quickly issue the new service coordinator funding.