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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-17
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeJanuary 21, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said senior citizens around the nation would gain new opportunities for improved housing under a new initiative announced today by Vice President Gore.

The initiative - announced by the Vice President in an appearance in Tampa, FL - was developed with HUD to improve housing opportunities for older Americans and will be included in President Clinton's proposed federal budget for the 2000 fiscal year. It offers a range of housing options for the elderly - a Continuum of Care.

"Just as we want to save Social Security, we want to save housing security for older Americans," Cuomo said. "People who've spent decades working to improve our country in the 20th century shouldn't be forced into substandard housing or nursing homes where they don't belong in the 21st century."

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore understand that for families all over America, the housing needs of elderly parents and grandparents are a critical problem," Cuomo said. "This initiative will have a direct and dramatic impact in helping these families."

Portions of the new initiative involving HUD call for:

  • $660 million for HUD's successful Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program to fund new construction and improvement of senior citizen housing. $100 million of the funds would be used for grants to convert some existing senior housing into assisted living units for older people, and to create Intergenerational Learning Centers in HUD-assisted housing developments. These centers would offer affordable senior citizen services and affordable child care that would be run by residents of the HUD housing. Another $50 million would be used to expand a program that hires service coordinators to run programs for the elderly.

  • A new $90 million program to provide 15,000 housing vouchers that would initially be used by senior citizens who rent units in developments subsidized by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

  • Changing current law to allow HUD rental assistance vouchers to cover the rent portion of assisted living costs. This change would allow over 200,000 lower income seniors who currently use HUD vouchers to access assisted living facilities.

  • Helping seniors stay in their own homes whenever possible. HUD would help more older Americans borrow against the value of their own homes with HUD-insured reverse mortgages to help them meet their expenses and pay for home safety improvements.

  • Establishing working partnership between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services to help senior citizens in assisted living facilities. HUD would partner with HHS to better integrate housing assistance with Medicaid funding for services.

These steps build on proposals by President Clinton in his State of the Union Address to aid Americans with long-term care needs and those who care for them, including a $1,000 tax credit that compensates for the costs of caring for Americans of all ages with long-term care needs or the family caregivers who support them.

By combining new and existing HUD programs, and improving coordination with other federal aid, the new initiative would create a comprehensive senior housing system, Cuomo said.

Today about 1.5 million senior citizens pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing or live in substandard housing. Cuomo said housing problems for older Americans could grow worse because the number of Americans age 65 or older will double from about 34.3 million today to about 69.4 million in the year 2030 - when one in five people in this country will be elderly.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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