CDBG as Resource for Senior Housing COVID-19 Costs

Legislation | June 16, 2020 | by Linda Couch, Linda Couch

Funds provided by the March 27 CARES Act could help affordable senior housing providers with their COVID-19-related costs. The CARES Act provided $5 billion in supplemental funding to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The funds are meant to help the state and local government jurisdictions receiving these funds combat COVID-19 and alleviate economic hardship.

Funds provided by the March 27 CARES Act could help affordable senior housing providers with their COVID-19-related costs. The CARES Act provided $5 billion in supplemental funding to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The funds are meant to help the state and local government jurisdictions receiving these funds combat COVID-19 and alleviate economic hardship.

These CARES Act supplemental CDBG funds more than double the amount of CDBG funds a state or local government would normally receive from the CDBG program. LeadingAge understands that some state and local governments are eager for partners to help identify efficient and effective uses of these resources.

These funds could be used to increase or improve cleaning of senior housing communities and senior centers, for food, grocery, and pharmacy delivery for seniors, for the purchase of personal protective equipment, for testing, diagnosis, or other services at a fixed or mobile location, among other uses.

LeadingAge members are encouraged to reach out to the state and local government agency contacts for these CDBG funds to identify possible partnership with addressing COVID-19 within affordable senior housing communities.

Thus far, HUD has released $3 billion of the CARES Act’s $5 billion for CDBG. According to the National Association of Counties, $1 billion of the released funds was distributed based on a new formula developed HUD that uses variables focusing on public health needs, risk of transmission of coronavirus, rate of coronavirus cases and economic disruption. Specifically, the new allocation formula uses data on low income older adults and children to target funds to places with higher public health risk while also using recent unemployment insurance claims data to provide for states hardest hit, at the time of the allocation, by unemployment. All the factors were adjusted so that places with higher than the national average in COVID-19 cases receive a slightly higher share of funding, according to the National Association of Counties.

The remaining $2 billion in CARES Act CDBG funds are to be distributed to states and units of local government on a rolling basis, at the discretion of the HUD Secretary, with formula factors to be defined by HUD.