KOHL SENIOR HOUSING BILL TO BECOME LAW
Following House Passage, Bill Heads to President for Signature
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, announced the passage of S.118 by the U.S. House of Representatives. S.118, passed under unanimous consent by the U.S. Senate this past weekend, will improve the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program. The Section 202 program provides capital grants to non-profit community organizations for the development of supportive housing and provision of rental assistance exclusively for low-income seniors. Through such housing and supportive services, the program allows low-income seniors to remain safely in their homes.
"Not only will this law help aging Americans stay right where they want to be - in their own homes - but it will also help those who want to stay in the business of providing this crucial housing to low-income seniors. And by reducing the need for costly nursing home stays, we are saving the residents and the government money," Kohl said.
The law will preserve and improve upon existing Section 202 facilities. There are over 300,000 seniors living in 6,000 Section 202 developments across the country, with ten seniors vying for each housing unit that becomes available. It is expected that approximately 730,000 additional senior housing units will be needed by 2020 in order to address the housing needs of low-income seniors. At this point the program is not expected to meet the future demand.
This legislation has been endorsed by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, America Association of Service Coordinators, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation, Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Services in America, National Affordable Housing Management Association, National Church Residences, National Housing Trust, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, United Jewish Communities, and Volunteers of America.
S.118 was cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The law will address the affordable senior housing shortage by:
· Making it easier for owners to refinance Section 202 developments, which may be in need of rehabilitation;
· Providing greater flexibility to owners to transform unmarketable studio apartments into rentable one-bedroom units;
· Establishing a new project-based rental assistance program for seniors at risk of losing rental housing due to rent increases after refinancing;
· Making it easier for owners to make health and supportive services available to residents through service-enriched housing.
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