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Draft Bill Circulated on Housing COVID-19 Relief

Third Round of Applications for HUD COVID Supplemental Payments Expected

The House Committee on Financial Services is circulating a discussion draft of the Supporting Seniors and Tenants in Subsidized Housing Act. The draft bill is a version of 2020’s Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act introduced in the House (as HR 6873) and Senate (as S 4177). The draft bill is sponsored by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance.

The bill, spearheaded by LeadingAge, would provide financial relief for COVID-19-related expenses, including funding for new Service Coordinators, installation and service fees for building-wide wireless internet and covering an array of COVID-19 expenses amassed by HUD-assisted affordable senior housing providers. 

The March 2020 CARES Act provided $1 billion in COVID-19 relief for Project-Based Rental Assistance and $50 million for the Section 202 program, including $10 million for grant-funded service coordinators. Of the $1,050,000,000, HUD earmarked $825 million to make up for lost tenant rent payments ($810 million for PBRA and $15 million for Section 202) and $225 million for COVID-19-related expense relief.

Of the $225 million to be used for COVID-19 relief, HUD officials told housing advocates this month that more than $100 million remains unspent. HUD is about to issue a third round of applications for COVID-19 Supplemental Payments (CSPs). LeadingAge has urged HUD to expand eligible uses for the CSP funds, including meals, laundry, transportation support, testing and vaccine clinic costs at properties, appreciation pay for staff, and some technology costs. LeadingAge has also pushed for a longer application window and eligible uses to be known before the CSP application window beginning. The narrow application windows have been at the end of 4-month CSP reimbursement periods, making it impossible to know what permissible expenses are.

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