Obama Administration Makes Housing More Affordable for Seniors and the Disabled

by Houston Agent

Thanks to $749 million worth of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), thousands of very-low-income seniors and disabled persons will have access to affordable and supportive housing.

Residents who are considered “very-low-income” are those who have household incomes that are less than 50 percent of the median value for the area they live in. Yet, there is a growing number of households who only earn about 30 percent of the median income.

According to HUD’s website, the latest round of HUD grants will help non-profit organizations provide accessible housing options, rental assistance and supportive services for those residents over the age of 62 or those with mental or physical disabilities.

Earlier this year, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act and the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act were enacted to provide the needed enhancements to programs already in place. Non-profit grant recipients will now receive federal assistance that is better connected to state and local healthcare investments.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping our senior citizens and persons with disabilities find an affordable place to live that is close to needed healthcare services and transportation,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Recent bipartisan changes to these two supportive housing programs will allow us to better serve some of our more vulnerable populations who would otherwise be struggling to find a safe and decent home of their own.”

The grants were awarded under Section 202 and Section 811. Supportive Housing Programs supported by the grants will begin construction on more than 189 housing developments in 42 different states and Puerto Rico. At the completion of these projects, 4,800 elderly residents and residents with disabilities will be provided with affordable housing and necessary healthcare and support services.

Section 202 is designed to provide very-low-income individuals over the age of 62 with an opportunity for independent living without foregoing the necessary support to meet their individual needs. This section will provide $545 million to 97 projects nationwide, in 31 states and Puerto Rico, for the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of multi-family developments. In addition, HUD Section 202 will provide rental assistance to the elderly so that they are only required to pay 30 percent of their adjusted incomes on housing.

HUD’s Section 811 functions in a similar way for the disabled, and will provide $137 million nationwide–with 92 projects in 34 states–to assist very-low-income individuals with disabilities. $12.6 million will be available as part of the section to keep the rate that disabled residents pay at 30 percent of their adjusted incomes; HUD grants will cover the difference between the resident’s 30 percent and the housing cost. The majority of the Section 811 supported housing will be newly-constructed small apartment buildings, group homes for three to four people and condominium units that are integrated into larger communities.

HUD provides the funds to non-profit organizations by capital advance or project rental assistance contracts. The state of Texas will receive just over $4.5 million from the grants, to be split between three non-profit organizations in the cities of Austin, Beaumont and Cleveland.

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