The Arc Applauds $150 Million in New Funding for Affordable, Inclusive Housing for People with Disabilities

Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced awards totaling $150 million to 24 states and the District of Columbia to develop an estimated 4,584 units of inclusive, affordable supportive housing in the community for people with significant disabilities and extremely low incomes. HUD awarded the funds through the recently-modernized Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program. The Section 811 PRA program is designed to assist state housing agencies to expand integrated, supportive housing opportunities for people with the most significant and long term disabilities, and was the centerpiece of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010. The Arc applauds HUD for its continued progress in implementing this innovative model.

Sign-On Letter for State, Local Advocates to Support Federal Housing Funding

In Congress, the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations will decide soon how much funding each appropriations subcommittee will receive in FY 2016 — called the “302(b)” allocation. It is critical that the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittees receive the highest possible levels. The top-line “302(b)” level will determine how much money is available for affordable housing programs in FY 2016, and will affect funding for critical housing programs for people with disabilities, such as public housing; Section 8 housing choice vouchers; Section 811 Supporting Housing for Persons with Disabilities; and Homeless assistance programs.

Federal community development funding at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been cut by nearly 30% since FY 2010. HUD-funded agencies are routinely overwhelmed by applications for rental assistance, and years-long wait lists for assistance have become dishearteningly normal. The cuts have caused the loss of 70,000 rental assistance opportunities for low income families since 2013. At the same time, people with disabilities face an ongoing crisis in the lack of affordable, accessible community housing – a gap will only grow, unless adequate funding is available.

House and Senate appropriators need to hear from you!

Read the letter:
http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/302b_THUD_final_sign_on_letter.pdf

Sign the letter:
http://nlihc.org/issues/budget/302b

Department of Housing and Urban Development to Host Webinar on Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities NOFA

On March 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm EDT, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will host a webinar providing an overview of the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Program. This webinar is for state housing finance agencies interested in applying for PRA under the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) released on March 4, 2014 making available approximately $120 million from FY13 and FY14 appropriations. The Section 811 PRA Program provides project-based rental assistance to state housing or other appropriate housing agencies to create permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Applications are due May 5, 2014. Register for this Webinar.

HUD Releases Notice of Funding for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) combining funds for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.  A total of $120 million will be awarded to states for grants ranging from $2 million to $12 million per state.  States will use these grants to create affordable, integrated housing linked with voluntary supportive services to assist people with significant disabilities to live in the community, in accordance with the innovative Section 811 model authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010.  Applications are due May 5, 2014.  More information is available at grants.gov (Docket No. FR-5700-N-28).  The Arc has strongly supported funding and implementation for the modernized Section 811 program.   Local advocates should begin working with their state housing, disability, and Medicaid agencies to encourage states to apply for this important new funding in support of state Olmstead initiatives and related community living efforts.

Priced Out in 2012 Documents Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities

Last week, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the CCD Housing Task Force released a new study, Priced Out in 2012, which documents the housing crisis for people with disabilities. The study compares Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) average fair market rents for one bedroom and efficiency apartments with the average Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit for a person with a disability living in the community. Priced Out in 2012 finds that the national average rent for a modestly priced one bedroom apartment is greater than the entire SSI payment of a person with a disability. The study provides data for all states and 2,572 housing market areas across the nation.

In a statement, The Arc’s CEO Peter V. Berns noted that Priced Out highlights the need for programs like the new HUD Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Demonstration, stating, “Having a safe place to call home is a basic human right and we have a responsibility to ensure individuals with disabilities are given the chance find a home in the community they choose. The Arc calls on Congress to adequately fund the Section 811 PRA Demonstration to help address the housing crisis for people with disabilities.”

President Obama releases FY 2014 spending plan

President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget request on April 10. Overall, the President’s Budget would cancel the across-the-board cuts for FY 2014-2021 through targeted spending cuts and increased revenues and reduce the deficit over the long term.

While the President’s Budget would not make structural changes to Medicaid and Social Security, it does propose a change that would result in benefit cuts in Social Security programs. It includes a plan to use a different measure of inflation, known as the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI), to calculate cost of living increases. The Arc remains concerned that the measures to limit the effect of this change on very low income persons would still result in benefit cuts for many people with disabilities.

Most disability-related discretionary programs would be level funded at the FY 2012 level in the President’s Budget (it is not possible to say how the proposed FY 2014 funding compares to the FY 2013 amounts as federal agencies are still in the process of determining how they will allocate the approximate 5.2 % funding cuts within affected programs). Proposed increases and decreases from FY 2012 funding levels for disability-related programs are listed below:

Dept. of HHS – Center on Birth Defects & DDs +$0.1 million
Dept. of HHS – Natl. Institute of Child Health and Human Dev. +$20 million
Dept. of ED – IDEA- Part C Early Intervention +$20 million
Dept. of ED – IDEA- Part D National Programs – State Personnel Development
+$1.1 million
Dept. of ED – Research in Special Education +$10 million
Dept. of ED – IDEA- Part D National Programs – Personnel Preparation -$2.9 million
Dept. of ED – State Assistive Technology Programs -$2 million
Dept. of ED – Voc. Rehabilitation State Grant +$180.4 million
Dept. of ED – Natl. Inst. on Disability & Rehab Research +$1.2 million
Dept. of ED – Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education +$256.5 million
Dept. of Labor – Office of Disability Employment Policy +$3.5 million
Dept. of HUD – Section 811 Supportive Housing PRA Demo -$78 million

In addition, there are a few noteworthy changes proposed in the President’s Budget:

  • Reduction of funding for new supported housing units. A significant reduction is proposed for the Section 811 housing program for persons with disabilities Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Demonstration. The President’s Budget provides for only $20 million to develop 700 new units of supported housing, down from $98 million in FY 2012 to develop 3,500 new units of supported housing.
  • Use of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to fund existing programs. The PPHF was created by the health reform law to substantially expand investments in our public health system. Unfortunately, some of the funding in the past has been used to pay for other programs. The President’s request also proposes to use the PPHF to fund other programs. The President’s FY 2014 Budget would take 52% of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities funding from the PPHF, placing its long term funding at risk.
  • Consolidation of Education programs. Several Education Department programs would be consolidated, including the Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, into the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education, and the Supported Employment State Grant into Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants.

Learn more about the FY 2014 President’s Budget at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/presidential-budget-2014/

Across the board cuts for discretionary programs to take effect this Friday, March 1

Federal discretionary programs are scheduled to be cut by approximately 10% in the second half of 2013, unless Congress negotiates a deal to prevent the cuts. These include hundreds of programs, including many that are of great importance to the disability community, such as IDEA State Grants, State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities and the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The White House released a state-by-state report showing the impact of the cuts; view this chart to see how the cuts will affect your state. To date, three quarters of the enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years has come from spending cuts alone. The Arc supports replacing the automatic cuts with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes revenues. See Action Alert above.

HUD and HHS Announce Awards of $98 Million for Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly announced the FY 2012 awards for the new HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Demonstration. The Section 811 PRA Demonstration is designed to assist state housing agencies to expand integrated supportive housing opportunities for people with the most significant and long term disabilities, and was the centerpiece of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010. A total of 13 states will receive $98 million to produce 3,530 units of integrated supportive housing for people with disabilities. Learn more on The Arc’s blog.

HUD issues guidance on temporary compliance assistance

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a new notice, PIH 2013-03, “Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program – Temporary Compliance Assistance.” The notice establishes temporary guidelines for how public housing agencies (PHAs) can fulfill program requirements in light of their diminished resources. Among other provisions, the notice

  1. Allows for optional streamlined annual reexamination for elderly families and disabled families on fixed incomes; and
  2. Allows PHAs to establish a payment standard of not more than 120 percent of the fair market rent without HUD approval as a reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities.
These temporary guidelines are in effect through March 31, 2014.

HUD Extends Deadline for States to Apply for Section 811 PRAD Funding

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has extended the deadline for states to submit applications to receive funding for the new the Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRA Demo) Program of Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities to August 7th. HUD has updated the application package to reflect this new deadline. The date is the only change. If a state has already submitted, there is no need to do anything else.