For the first time in almost a decade, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded Section 202 funds to serve the nation’s low-income seniors. The awards include $51.5 million in housing assistance to nonprofits to finance affordable housing construction, provide rental assistance, and coordinate supportive services for very low-income individuals 62 and older.
The Section 202 program was founded in 1959 to provide support for older adults, but new funding had not been allocated since 2011. This $51.5 million is the first part of the $251 million that Congress has provided for new Section 202 housing since the program was revived in 2017.
“Expanding affordable housing opportunities is a priority, especially for our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said HUD secretary Ben Carson. “These awards will facilitate capital investment in seniors housing developments and create roughly 1,100 new homes, the majority for very low-income seniors.”
Brian Montgomery, federal housing commissioner, added that the combination of capital advance and project rental assistance grants will create a greater supply of new rental units and support the viability of existing programs.
HUD has significantly reduced the reliance on federal investment for the development of these properties by requiring leverage with other sources of private capital. It’s now estimated to be $88,000 per unit today compared with $156,000 per unit in 2012.
LeadingAge, which represents more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations and has been aggressively advocating to renew funding for Section 202 housing for years, applauds the funding.
“This is why we do the work we do,” said Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO. “We’ve held rallies, in 2017 and 2019, on Capitol Hill, where thousands of older adults living in 202 housing communities raised their voices and shared their concerns. Congresspeople joined us at those events and in hundreds of meetings here in D.C. and with our state partners. We’ve written letters, providing expert testimony and offered up solutions, such as RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) and PRAC (project rental assistance contract), to ensure that our nation’s stock of affordable housing for older adults is both preserved and expanded. These awards are truly tremendous results from years of aggressive advocacy to reinvest in and reinvigorate the 202 program and other types of affordable housing programs for older adults.”
The nonprofits receiving awards include: Catholic Housing and Community Services, Community Housing and Development Corp., Comprehensive Housing Assistance, CSI Support & Development Services, Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corp., Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corp., HumanGood Affordable Housing, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly III, The McGregor Foundation, Mercy Housing Northwest, National Church Residences, Neighborhood Development Services, New Samaritan Corp., Tapestry Development Group, Vesta Longfellow, Volunteers of America, and Wesley Housing Development Corporation of Northern Virginia.
The 18 grants will benefit projects in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. In addition, five projects are Opportunity Zone properties.