Congressional Stimulus Bills & Senior Housing: A Few Highlights

For those of you who want to read the 700 pages of the House version of ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or those who want to review the amendments being debated in the Senate or try to follow all the press coverage, good luck. If you just want the down and dirty from all the action from last week that pertains to certain senior housing topics, here it is (as of Saturday afternoon). With a vote expected soon, here are some items that are in both the House and Senate versions that touch the senior housing industry. Both bills must be reconciled before anything is placed in front of President Obama to sign into law. Considering that housing is part of the cause of the current crisis, it is easy to expect that many of the provisions are geared as different aspects in the housing industry. Part of the stimulus bill has funding for assisting with funding environmentally friendly affordable housing projects that follows the Democratic charge to create “green” jobs. For some further information on the bills and senior housing issues, see the topics outlined below. We’ll keep everyone posted as to what the final reconciled version is after the Senate passes its amended version.

Home Purchase Tax Credit


House Version: A $7,500 tax credit for first-time homebuyers earning less than $150,000

Senate Verison: $15,000 break for all home purchases that can be spread over two years with no income limitations/restrictions

For a full discussion of this topic, see this Bloomberg article. Assuming some version of the Senate version passes, I can only imagine that many Boomers would look at down-sizing with this incentive.


Reverse Mortgage Limits Increases

This exists in both versions of the house and senate bill. Click here for our previous article on the increased HECM limits.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Senate Version: Senator Bond Amendment for $2 Billion in low-income housing tax credits/direct equity grants (LIHTC). The Senate version also calls for retroactive use of the credits for the prior 5 years as well as come complicated rules for using future years of the tax credits

House Version: Under the House version of the bill, the US government would buy a portion of credits that developers couldn’t sell, in the hope that would be enough to get construction moving again as well as provide cash to state agencies that administer tax credits.

These different approaches would need to be reconciled in the final version of the stimulus legislation.


The house version of the bill would return Medicaid eligibility to July 1, 2008 levels, providing protection for thousands of seniors who have had their Medicaid coverage revoked due to state budget cutbacks. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) proposed an amendment to the house bill to protect provider payments but that amendment was voted down by the Senate on Friday.