Approximately $750 million in federal funding will be awarded to nonprofit organizations across the country to build or rehabilitate 189 affordable housing developments for low-income seniors and disabled individuals.

The awards include $545 million in Sec. 202 capital advances to 97 projects in 42 states and Puerto Rico. In addition to funding the construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of multifamily developments for seniors, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sec. 202 program will also provide $54 million in rental assistance so that residents only pay 30 percent of their adjusted incomes for rent.

HUD also announced $137 million in Sec. 811 capital advances for housing for people with disabilities. The awards will assist 92 projects in 35 states. An additional $12.6 million will be available for project rental assistance contracts. Residents will pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent.

The awards “provide critically needed capital to these nonprofit developers to kick-start development either through acquisition of the property, new construction, or to support the substantial rehabilitation of multifamily housing developments,” said Carol Galante, acting assistant secretary and Federal Housing Administration commissioner at HUD, in a call with reporters. “But it’s not just about producing housing units that’s important here because for these two vulnerable populations HUD is also providing a combined $67 million in rental assistance to make certain seniors and individuals with disabilities can actually afford to live in these developments for years to come.”

The housing will serve very low-income residents, meaning they earn no more than 50 percent of the area median income. However, the majority will earn less than 30 percent of the AMI, according to Galante.

The funding announcement came just two days after Congress’ fiscal 2012 conference budget report. Congress is preparing to provide no new funds for construction activities under the two programs.

“While it’s clear there are difficult budget decisions to be made, this is clearly not good news given the critical shortage of affordable housing options for seniors and persons with disabilities,” Galante said.

She noted that the number of very low-income households that spend more than half of their incomes on rent, live in severely substandard housing, or both, increased by 20 percent between 2007 and 2009, including a million households with a family member with a disability.

“Today’s announcement will help close this housing gap, but it’s also quite obvious that we cannot lose sight of the needs of our most vulnerable citizens–our seniors and those living with disabilities,” Galante said.

HUD received more than 300 applications for Sec. 202 funding and about 200 applications for Sec. 818 funding.