Budget could cut $42 million for affordable senior housing, service coordinators

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Linda Couch
Linda Couch

Rental assistance for more than 23,000 older adult households and funding for 360 service coordinators in affordable senior housing would be eliminated if $42 million in budget cuts reportedly being considered by the Trump administration for fiscal year 2018 are enacted, according to LeadingAge.

The calculations are based on leaked preliminary documents discussed March 8 by the Washington Post, said Linda Couch, LeadingAge director of housing Policy and priorities, writing in a March 13 blog post. The White House is expected to release its final agency budget requests this week, although program-level requests may not be available until April or May, Couch said.

The preliminary information suggests that funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program could be cut by $42 million compared with the funding it received in fiscal year 2016, Couch said, affecting adults who receive rental assistance from the program and service coordinators whose positions are funded via the program.

Additional people could be affected, Couch said.

“It is unclear what, if any, cuts to the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program the administration is contemplating for its FY18 request,” she said, noting that approximately 204,000 Section 202 units receive rental assistance from that program.

“It's unfortunate that preliminary numbers were published, but please take some comfort in knowing that starting numbers are rarely final numbers,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a March 9 memo to agency staff members, the blog noted. The memo also was reported by several media outlets. “Rest assured, we are working hard to support those programs that help so many Americans, focus on our core mission and ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely and effectively,” Carson wrote.

LeadingAge, Couch said, is working with the offices of members of Congress to try to ensure adequate HUD funding to maintain existing affordable housing, aid new construction of affordable housing and assist low-income residents with rent.

Overall, HUD could face a budget cut of as much as $6 billion (14%), affecting low-income seniors, developers of affordable housing and others, under the leaked budget proposal, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said Thursday. Congress should lift spending caps while maintaining funding parity between defense and nondefense programs and should ensure the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing programs, the group said.


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