Non-profit seniors and disabled housing providers will finally receive $750 million in grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that were allocated for 2011 and 2010, the department announced Wednesday. The announcement comes just two months following the decision by Congress to slash funding for the program from the U.S. 2012 budget, leaving Section 202 with $369 million—less than half of what the Administration requested for the program budget, and no funds for new construction.
The grants will be available to assist in the construction of more than 189 housing developments in 41 states and Puerto Rico for seniors and disabled individuals in need of supportive housing, Federal Housing Administration officials said Wednesday.
The timing of the grant announcements, $600 million of which fall mainly under HUD’s Section 202 Program with additional funding for HUD’s Section 811 for disabled housing and some rental assistance, could be considered ironic, given the recent funding cuts.
Senior advocacy association LeadingAge called the grant announcements “a strange irony,” with respect to Congress’s recent decision.
“Notwithstanding more than 2,400 phone calls and 100s of faxes in support of 202 new development, Congress has decided that it can’t make any new affordable housing commitments for seniors,” wrote Nancy Libson, senior housing policy expert for LeadingAge, in an email.
Without any new construction funding for the 202 program in 2012, the timing of the announcements is not good, Libson told SHN.
“We never know what the timing is going to be,” she said. Now, with congressmen being told told this week about the 2010 and 2011 funding being assigned in their districts, there is even less of a chance of the future funds that are needed being approved, she explained.
Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante stressed the need for Section 202 housing in a call with press following the announcement.
“There were over 300 applications for 202,” she said. In terms of the timeframe for the funding, “It will depend individually on the readiness of the individual project, but the funds will be obligated and made available as they meet their milestones.”
At more than $600 million, Section 202 housing facilities will receive the lion’s share of the grants announced this week, while Section 811 will comprise $137 million.
“Recent bipartisan changes to these two supportive housing programs will allow us to better serve some of our more vulnerable populations who would otherwise be struggling to find a safe and decent home of their own,” said Federal Housing Administration Secretary Shawn Donovan.
The funding will be made available mainly in the form of capital advances, to cover the costs of developing, acquiring or rehabilitation of housing developments.
View the grant awards by state.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker