Linda Couch, LeadingAge

The House Appropriations Committee has proposed significant funding increases for affordable senior housing in its fiscal year 2022 draft spending bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies.

The bill’s budget provisions for Housing and Urban Development were applauded by Linda Couch, LeadingAge’s vice president of housing policy. Beginning with major increases to Section 202 funding, there is much to interest senior living operators in the budget, including public housing, vouchers and the HOME program, Couch said. 

“The House bill does well by each of these programs, and we’ll fight to see at least these amounts in the final FY22 HUD bill later in the year,” she told McKnight’s Senior Living Tuesday.

The bill includes more than $11.3 billion in funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, including health, safety and maintenance improvements for public and low-income housing and community development activities. 

Fully $1 billion is provided to build approximately 2,200 new affordable housing units for low-income seniors, HAC said in a statement released July 11. This amount is $100 million more than President Biden has proposed and $170 million above 2021 levels, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

Although it is not everything LeadingAge has asked for, the Section 202 funding increases are especially reassuring considering past failures to meet the level of need, Couch said.

“The amount reflects a House committee that understands the value of HUD’s Section 202 program. That’s priceless as Congress heads into discussions on an infrastructure reconciliation bill where we hope to see at least $2.5 billion for new Section 202 homes,” she said.

A motivated Senate?

Whether these numbers will make it through the Senate remains to be seen, but Couch said that appropriators in that body are motivated to increase affordable senior housing as needs continue to outpace supply.

“We’re eager for the Senate to include at least these kinds of numbers for new housing,” she concluded.