Adrianne Todman at a podium
Adrianne Todman, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, addresses the LeadingAge Leadership Summit on Monday. (Photo by Ana I. Martinez Chamorro)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden proposed a nearly 20% budget increase Monday for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, targeting more than $1 billion to support housing for older adults and those with disabilities.

HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman, speaking at the LeadingAge Leadership Summit, called the proposal a “meaningful” investment that would help “folks who are trying to age with integrity.”

The $71.9 billion annual budget for HUD for 2023 calls for a $11.6 billion hike over fiscal 2022, whereas an additional $35 billion would go toward a new Housing Supply Fund. The mandatory supply program would provide grants to state and local housing agencies to invest in affordable housing strategies.

The spending plan also would boost Section 202 Housing for the Elderly funding by approximately $100 million, to $966 million. Another $80 million in additional funding would go to Section 811 housing for people with disabilities. The cash infusion could support an estimated 2,000 new units nationally across both programs.

Todman noted that the share of residents aged more than 65 years living in HUD’s assisted housing programs had increased by 6% in recent years. She added that the American Rescue Plan’s rent-relief features and a $30 million aging-in-place program launched last year laid the groundwork for the administration to grow its services for seniors. Still, she said, the nation is hundreds of thousands of units behind where it needs to be when it comes to supply.

“We’re going to continue to do the right thing for Americans who need help with housing affordability,” Todman told LeadingAge members. “There are so many people who are seniors or will be seniors who will benefit from the work we do today.”

Although the Biden budget reflects the administration’s priorities, it in no way guarantees increased funding. Congress ultimately will set the funding level when it passes the 2023 omnibus spending bill. The 2022 budget was finalized in early March after months of contentious political debate.

Still, during a week in which LeadingAge members face challenges getting their message to lawmakers on a still-quiet Capitol Hill, leaders painted the higher HUD numbers as “phenomenal news.”

“The facts about housing needs of America’s low-income older adults are simple: Demand outstrips supply,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said. “More homes are needed. And when services, such as onsite coordinators, are paired with affordable communities, health outcomes are improved. …Our members look forward to collaborating with HUD in the shared goal of getting funds and resources, including more homes, to the right people at the right place at the right time.” 

Introducing Todman, LeadingAge Chair Mike King, president and CEO of Volunteers for America, added that his organizaton is “very excited” about HUD’s budget priorities. VOA is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of affordable housing for seniors.

Almost 800 LeadingAge members are gathered in the nation’s capital this week to talk about leadership and business strategies, with nearly 100 members scheduled to visit with lawmakers either virtually or in person. That’s about the same number as in 2019, Smith Sloan said, when advocacy visits were held in person.