Affordable senior housing received a strong boost of support from the House last week as lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation: the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020 and the Moving Forward Act.

The first bill, part of a broader housing COVID-19 relief bill, provides $500 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and $750 million for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. These funds will help address the steep costs most affordable seniors housing providers have faced during the pandemic, said Linda Couch, LeadingAge’s vice president of housing policy. The Section 202 funding also includes $300 million for service coordinators within HUD-assisted affordable senior housing communities.

The second bill, the House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, includes $2.5 billion for new homes under the Section 202 program. 

“As HUD and [Government Accountabiilty Office] reported again recently, there is a severe affordable housing shortage in the United States for older adults,” Couch told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Both of these bills are welcome news for housing providers and the millions of seniors in need of affordable, quality homes.”

In other affordable housing news, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and 14 Senate co-sponsors introduced the Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act on Thursday. The bill would provide $1.2 billion to ensure that federally assisted senior housing facilities have the necessary resources to effectively protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Menendez said in a press release

“Congress has an obligation to help our most vulnerable during this crisis, and that means making sure our federally assisted senior housing facilities have the necessary resources to effectively protect and ensure residents remain safe, healthy and have access to key services during the COVID crisis,” he said.