Several senior living operators and groups serving them are among the 3,574 organizations that sent a letter to Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to “ensure affordable housing, community development and transportation programs receive the highest allocation of discretionary funds possible in fiscal year 2020.”

“While we must work to reduce our nation’s deficit over the long-term, balancing our budget should not be done on the backs of the low income families in our nation,” the letter, dated March 11, said. “Many of these families are already straining to get by; they should not be made worse off by deficit reduction.”

Building 100 affordable rental homes generates $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 161 local jobs in the first year, according to the letter-writers.

Among the organizations and companies signing the letter, which the National Low Income Housing Coalition shared on its website, were the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Grace Lutheran Communities, LeadingAge, LeadingAge Gulf States, LeadingAge Ohio, LeadingAge Washington and Love Funding.

President Trump’s 2020 budget proposal calls for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) program to be funded at $644 million, an increase of $43 million over the president’s 2019 budget request but $34 million less than the 2019 annualized continuing resolution level, according to HUD. Rent increases for older adults would be phased in over six years.

“The request is deeply disappointing to LeadingAge, whose members provide quality affordable housing to older adults with average incomes of $13,500 a year,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan previously told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Not only must we fully preserve existing affordable homes; we must expand the supply of affordable housing as well. Phasing in a rent increase is still a rent increase. The older adults LeadingAge members serve cannot afford rent increases today, and won’t be able to afford them over the next six years.”

Nondefense discretionary caps must be raised, she said.

“HUD’s programs must better reflect the nation’s severe affordable housing shortage, which today forces elders to choose between rent, food and healthcare,” Sloan added.