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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2010

SCHUMER LEGISLATION PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR SENIORS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES PASSES SENATE AND WILL BE SIGNED INTO LAW

Bill Makes It Easier For Owners To Refinance; Owners Then Pass On Affordability To At-Need Elderly and Disabled Residents

Schumer, Long An Advocate For Affordable Housing For Seniors, Hails Major Milestone In Improvement Of Section 202 and Section 811 Housing

Schumer: This Legislation Will Help Us Make Sure No Elderly or Disabled Residents Are Left Out In The Cold

New York, NY – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) today announced a major milestone for seniors and individuals with disabilities across the country, as two pieces of legislation he sponsored passed Congress and were sent to the President for his signature. One of the bills, S. 118, is designed to streamline the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, which funds affordable housing for low-income seniors and protects their right to “age in place” through the provision of supportive, community-based services. The other bill, S. 1481, provides people with disabilities the opportunity to live independently within their own communities by creating affordable rental units. 

These bills make it easier for property owners who administer housing for seniors and persons with disabilities to refinance their properties – in turn allowing owners to preserve and maintain the affordability and quality of these units for residents. Schumer, who has long advocated for increased funding for affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities, praised Congress’s passage of the legislation as an important milestone for seniors across the country. The bill is expected to be signed into law by the President soon.

“This is a common sense way to help property owners refinance elderly housing in order to preserve affordable housing for needy seniors and individuals with disabilities,” Schumer said. “We have an obligation to make sure our seniors and disabled citizens can live with dignity, and I am proud to have worked alongside my colleagues Senator Kohl and Senators Menendez and Johanns to pass both pieces of legislation.”

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development generally defines affordability so that a household should pay no more than 30% of its annual income on housing expenses. 

While the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program currently provides approximately 300,000 units of affordable housing for elderly households, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) estimates that approximately ten seniors are on a waiting list for each Section 202 unit that becomes available. The population of persons age 65 and older in the United States is expected to increase in both number and population percentage over the next 25 years, greatly increasing the need for assisted housing and supportive services for low-income elderly persons to ensure that our aging population has adequate and decent housing. 

 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 811 program is the only federally funded housing program dedicated to providing low-income people with disabilities with affordable rental subsidies.  Additionally, this program supports the efforts to combine affordable housing with voluntary supportive services.  This program provides people with disabilities the opportunity to live independently within their own communities by creating affordable rental units.  The reformed 811 program will increase unit production from 800-1,000 units per year to 3,000-4,000 units per year at no additional cost to the federal government. 

 

The elderly housing bill is supported 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.

 

The bill providing housing assistance for individuals with disabilities is supported by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, American Network of Community Options and Resources, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Autism Society of America, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Burton Blatt Institute, Easter Seals, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, National Disability Rights Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, The Arc of the United States, United Cerebral Palsy, United Jewish Communities, and United Spinal Association.

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