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How Affordable Housing Could Deliver Supportive Services

by Published On: Sep 24, 2012
ABT Associates

Making Subsidized Rental Housing a Platform for Improved Health for Vulnerable Populations” is a new paper from Abt Associates, a frequent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) research contractor, that offers 9 proposals around how housing should become the platform for the delivery of health and other supportive services.

The authors of the paper, Jill Khadduri and Gretchen Locke, note that “access to housing subsidies can contribute to positive health outcomes” and that the combination of housing and services can also help achieve savings in federal health expenditures, a long-standing position of LeadingAge and our Center for Applied Research. 

The paper provides yet another perspective on increasing the coordination of housing subsidies and health care “for people for whom housing is most likely to be a platform for health improvement or stabilization for health conditions.” 

Section 202 Housing

The authors suggest that the Section 202 housing program could better serve elderly people with severe health conditions by offering information and referral services through wider use of service coordinators, increasing funds to preserve units to provide additional amenities, and having more targeted tenant selection policies. 

LeadingAge’s position is that targeting Section 202 assistance to the frail elderly may deny an important goal of the 202 program: to support the ability of all residents, frail and non-frail, to age safely in the community by making available a range of services to meet their evolving needs and to prevent the premature need for higher levels of care.

Increased use of Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and Section 8 projects for supportive housing for people with vulnerable health would be a more effective use of scare housing assistance resources. The authors recommend HUD achieve this by:

  • Encouraging owners of public and assisted housing developments and administrators of the Housing Choice Voucher program to give admissions preference to applicants who need supportive housing. 

  • Providing incentives to create additional supportive housing in Notices of Fund Availability (NOFAs). The authors point to the recently announced Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration as an example.

Finally, the paper notes that the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility in 2014 will provide opportunities for states to develop tailored benefit plans to serve special populations such as chronically homeless people.


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