Infrastructure: Expand Housing Supply, Bring Services to Older Adults

Regulation | June 21, 2021 | by Linda Couch

As part of his American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal, President Biden has proposed $147.5 billion for affordable housing through HUD programs and adidtional housing and community development tax expenditures.

In a June 21, meeting with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and other HUD officials, LeadingAge expressed our support for the affordable housing components of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, particularly those related to the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program and Project-Based Rental Assistance.

As part of his American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal, President Biden has proposed $147.5 billion for affordable housing through HUD programs and additional housing and community development tax expenditures.

Included in this proposal is $2 billion for HUD’s Section 202 program. At the June 21 meeting, HUD officials revealed that the Section 202 funds would be for capital advances (the funds to actually construct the units) as well as Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA). Since 1990, Section 202 capital advances have been paired with Project Rental Assistance Contracts rather than PBRA. As the 202/PRAC portfolio has aged, the limitations on accessing mixed financing to preserve and rehabilitate 202/PRPAC units has become apparent, so much so that Congress authorized the conversion of 202/PRAC to PBRA or project-based vouchers via the Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

HUD plans to use $10 million of the $2 billion it is seeking for the Section 202 program to establish an interagency technical assistance effort to support state-level efforts to design coordinated, wrap-around supports for residents of Section 202 and other low income senior housing. HUD, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the Administration on Community Living, and other HHS agencies would provide 12 months of technical assistance for up to eight states (selected by a competitive solicitation) in each of five years.

HUD officials revealed details of the American Jobs Plan’s $2 billion proposal for Project-Based Rental Assistance. The PBRA proposal would be for new housing supply in high “opportunity” areas and would be allocated by state housing finance agencies along with Low Income Housing Tax Credits. This housing would have HUD asset management oversight. As yet, there is no definition of what “opportunity” would mean for these new PBRA homes; LeadingAge is well aware that opportunity may have different attributes for households of older adults and households that inlcude young children.

Secretary Fudge charged meeting participants with helping get the American Jobs Plan enacted, noting that housing funding cannot be left on the cutting room floor of infrastructure negotiations. “Don’t let us be left out of this process,” Secretary Fudge said. “We cannot afford to be left out.”

LeadingAge fully supports the American Jobs Plan’s affordable housing proposals and is very pleased to learn about the proposed HUD/CMMI/ACL technical assistance program to help up to 40 states’ efforts to design coordinated, wrap-around supports for residents of Section 202 and other low income senior housing.