Linda Couch

A House subcommittee bill makes headway on expanding the supply of affordable senior housing, according to LeadingAge.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies on Wednesday passed its fiscal year 2021 spending bill, which includes $860 million for new Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program homes, a significant increase over fiscal year 2020’s $90 million budget.

In a review of the bill, Linda Couch, vice president of housing policy for LeadingAge, noted that most of that $860 million is within the bill’s supplemental portion to spur necessary economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, but the traditional part of the bill also includes about $110 million for new Section 202 homes.

The bill also would provide $750 million for new Section 202 homes and $13.4 billion for project-based rental assistance renewals.

“The bill makes headway on LeadingAge’s priorities for FY21 HUD funding,” Couch wrote. 

Total funding in the non-economic stimulus portion of the bill is $893 million — $100 million more than the FY20-enacted level and $40 million more than President Trump’s request for the Section 202 account. In addition to funding for new Section 202 homes, the bill also would provide full renewal funding for project rental assistance contracts and senior preservation rental assistance contracts, $110 million for service coordinator grant renewals, $14 million for a two-ear extension of HUD’s Integrated Wellness in Supportive Housing demonstration, and $10 million for intergenerational housing via Legacy Act of 2003 provisions, according to Couch.

Couch noted that the bill includes $750 million for capital improvements for properties receiving project-based rental assistance to support economic recovery, including $250 million to mitigate threats to health and safety, as well as grants to include a financial assessment and physical inspection of properties.

House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-NC) said the FY21 funding bill seeks to confront the lack of affordable and safe housing problems head on.

“It provides substantial new investments to help vulnerable populations, including seniors, the disabled, homeless families and youth, domestic violence survivors and veterans,” Price said. “It will boost production of affordable housing and address urgent life and safety threats in public housing. 

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) said the emergency funding in the bill is “pivotal to kickstart a strong and equitable recovery form the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuring economic collapse.”

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill before July 17. No final spending bill is expected before the November election, Couch said.