The House Financial Services Committee considered a draft bill Wednesday that would provide $2.5 billion for the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. The funding also would be able to be used to provide residents with access to high-speed internet.
Wednesday’s virtual hearing, “Build Back Better: Investing in Equitable and Affordable Housing Infrastructure,” included consideration of both the Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021 and the Broadband Justice Act of 2021, both of which reflect goals developed in LeadingAge’s Blueprint for a Better Aging Infrastructure plan.
“The Section 202 program is the only program that exclusively provides housing assistance and supportive services for seniors,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, hearing witness and president of the solutions division for Enterprise Community Partners. “As we emerge from a pandemic that has had a dramatic impact on our elderly population, it is essential we provide this community with the resources they need to remain stably housed during the recovery.”
In related news, the federal government announced a third application period for COVID-19 supplemental payments for affordable senior housing providers and other multifamily housing providers. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development established a third request window and updated submission requirements for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to offset COVID-19-related expenses.
Under the new guidance, property owners, including owners of Section 202 properties, can apply for additional COVID-19 supplemental payments until April 26. The request period covers costs incurred Dec. 1 through March 31. Property owners that did not receive payments during the first two request periods, which covered expenditures between March 27 and July 31, and Aug. 1 through Nov. 30, may resubmit for that period as well.
The supplemental payments are meant to cover eligible operating costs, including increased cleaning and disinfecting to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; intensive deep cleaning and sanitization in response to an exposure on site; technology and equipment to facilitate social distancing; personal protective equipment for staff and residents; site control measures to support shelter-in-place or visitor restriction policies; and temporary staffing, contract services, overtime pay or enhanced service coordination to support older adults or people with disabilities. In this latest round, HUD also added costs resulting from vaccine/testing clinics as an eligible reimbursement category.
HUD has updated its tips for filling out the request form.