Urging Congress for COVID-19 Affordable Housing Relief and Resources

Legislation | March 19, 2020 | by Linda Couch

LeadingAge is at the forefront of seeking relief from Congress for affordable senior housing providers grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

LeadingAge is at the forefront of seeking relief from Congress for affordable senior housing providers grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

LeadingAge is urging Senate and House members to include financial and regulatory relief in any next emergency supplemental bill. Action on emergency COVID-19 bills has been fast and furious, and LeadingAge is hopeful some of our key asks will be included in an emergency package.

Among LeadingAge’s asks are resources for affordable senior housing communities who need funds to pay for emergency preparedness, cleaning, personal protective equipment, and supplies. Immediate funding is also needed to make up for decreased resident incomes resulting from resident rent payments decreasing as jobs are lost.

Our key asks also include an immediate expansion of funding for Service Coordinators in communities currently without a Service Coordinator. About half of HUD Section 202 communities do not have a Service Coordinator, a position whose benefits are very clear during this pandemic. Resources could also be used to hire a Second Coordinator if the existing one cannot work for whatever reason during the pandemic.

In addition to our requests for significant resources for providers and for Service Coordinators, LeadingAge is urging Congress to direct HUD to immediately implement regulatory relief on a number of issues. LeadingAge is working directly with HUD to secure these regulatory suspensions and waivers, but understands that sometimes direction from Congress can expedite efforts. Some regulatory relief requests require a statutory change, such as a flat out suspension of income recertifications.

On March 18, House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) released an outline of her emergency spending bill. Chair Waters’ outline includes LeadingAge’s asks for financial relief for housing providers and for $300 million for Service Coordinators. LeadingAge also understands that HUD is supportive of LeadingAge’s request to securing additional Service Coordinator funding in any next emergency spending package. LeadingAge is working with multiple House and Senate offices on our affordable housing asks, which were formally submitted as part of a letter to a wide array of key Hill decision makers with jurisdiction over the entire continuum of aging services represented by LeadingAge.