OAA and CDBG: Potential Partners for Housing Providers

Regulation | April 21, 2020 | by Linda Couch

Highlighting two potential sources of services support for affordable housing providers: Older Americans Act programs, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant.

Highlighting two potential sources of services support for affordable housing providers: Older Americans Act programs, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant.

New OAA Funding

On April 21, the HHS Administration on Community Living pushed $680 million from the March 27 CARES Act COVID-19 relief bill to states for home and community based services and home-delivered meals for older adults.

These funds are in addition to the $250 million provided by the March 18 Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The FFCRA provided funding in addition to fiscal year 2020 funds for Older Americans Act (OAA) nutrition services ($80 million for congregate nutrition, $160 million for home-delivered nutrition, and $10 million for nutrition services to Native Americans).

Under the Older Americans Act, once a nationwide emergency has been declared and states have requested to be, and been approved as, major disaster areas, states’ OAA funds are 100% fungible and can be used to pursue a long and flexible list of emergency supports and services.

These services include, but are not limited to:

  • drive through, take out, or home-delivered meals;
  • well-being checks via phone, in-person, or virtual means;
  • homemaker, chore, grocery/pharmacy/supply delivery;
  • transportation to essential services (such as grocery stores, banks, or doctors) when necessary; and,
  • meals for older adults who typically would participate in meal programs at community centers and other locations that have been closed due to social distancing measures.

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a nationwide emergency to avoid governors needing to request individual emergency declarations. Now, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have been approved for major disaster declarations.

Affordable housing providers should be reaching out to their local OAA recipients about assistance or residents that may now be possible thanks to the FFCRA and CARES funding being distributed to local agencies. The ACL's Eldercare Locater tool identifies local agencies.

New Community Development Block Grant Funds

HUD has also dispersed $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to state and local governments from the CARES Act. Increased CDBG funding could be utilized by state and local government entities to address a wide variety of needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • supporting community non-profits performing essential services;
  • workforce development and training services for displaced workers;
  • retrofitting community facilities for medical or quarantine uses; and,
  • supporting food and other essential supply deliveries to elderly and other vulnerable populations.

Under the CDBG program, states and larger cities received CARES Act funds directly via a HUD formula allocation; some metropolitan cities have a joint agreement with an urban county to administer their CDBG grant. The urban county amounts shown in this table include the funds allocated to any metropolitan city. The metropolitan city and urban county amounts are not shown separately under the “CDBG20-CARES” column.

Members are urged to contact the local department that administers CDBG. LeadingAge understands that CDBG grantees are sending out community needs surveys now to ascertain how the COVID-19 and “regular” FY20 CDBG funds should be used. Now is a good time for members to weigh in on these decisions.  

List of the state and local CDBG contacts.