Two Bills with Key Housing Provisions Pass House

Legislation | July 01, 2020 | by Linda Couch

The House voted to reiterate its support for LeadingAge’s affordable senior housing priorities twice in one week when it passed HR 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020, on June 29, and HR 2, the Moving Forward Act, on July 1. The first bill, HR 7301, is a broad housing COVID-19 relief bill, the second bill, HR 2, is the House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

The House voted to reiterate its support for LeadingAge’s affordable senior housing priorities twice in one week when it passed HR 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020, on June 29, and HR 2, the Moving Forward Act, on July 1. The first bill, HR 7301, is a broad housing COVID-19 relief bill, the second bill, HR 2, is the House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Both bills were championed by House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA). The Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020 was introduced by Chair Waters; the bill is a round-up of the housing-related portions of the House-passed HEROES Act (HR 6800). Chair Waters also authored the affordable housing portion, originally introduced by Chair Waters in 2019 as HR 5187, of HR 2.

The HEROES Act is the House’s first volley in Congress’s negotiation for the next large COVID-19 relief package, which is expected in late July. LeadingAge is seeking a $1.2 billion package of relief for affordable senior housing providers in the next COVID-19 relief package from Congress and was pleased some of our key asks were were included in the HEROES bill. The entirety of LeadingAge's asks for the next relief package were introduced in a House bill, HR 6873, cosponsored by Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) and Chair Waters.

Affordable senior housing advocates strongly support the housing portions of the HEROES Act as well as the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act. For HUD programs, the bill includes $500 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and $750 million for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Of the Section 202 resources, $300 million is to expand the number of Service Coordinators, a key LeadingAge ask. The remaining $200 million in the bill for the Section 202 account is for COVID-related expenses. Within HUD’s Section 8 PBRA program, 45% of PBRA units either directly subsidize Section 202 communities or provide the operating subsidy for elderly-only Section 8 communities. Thus, the $750 million for PBRA in the bill will help senior housing communities respond to COVID-related needs. The HEROES and the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief bills also include $309 million for USDA Rural Housing Service communities.

In addition to COVID-19 relief, the House has passed its infrastructure bill on June 30. The bill, HR 2, the Moving Forward Act, includes authorization of more than $100 billion for many HUD programs, including $2.5 billion for HUD's Section 202 program, as well as expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The HUD portions of the Moving Forward Act were originally introduced by Chair Waters in 2019 as HR 5187. The bill is endorsed by LeadingAge.