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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-244
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeNovember 18, 1999


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WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded non-profit groups in Maine $6.1 million to create 74 apartments for poor senior citizens and people with disabilities, and to provide rental assistance subsidies for five years to people living in the apartments.

An estimated 93 people will live in the low-rent apartments in Maine. There will be about 74 senior citizens living in 59 apartments, and about 19 people with disabilities living in 15 apartments.

"Too many older Americans struggling to get by on fixed incomes and too many people with disabilities who may be unable to work just don't have the money to pay for rising housing costs," Cuomo said. "HUD helps these people get housing they desperately need. We keep them out of nursing homes where they don't belong and out of slum housing."

Cuomo announced the grants in a telephone press conference along with Congressman Thomas Allen.

Cuomo said that the assistance is part of $792 million that HUD is awarding this week in affordable housing assistance for senior citizens and people with disabilities with very low incomes in 44 states and Puerto Rico.

The assistance around the country will create 8,943 subsidized apartments for an estimated 11,180 senior citizens and people with disabilities. Nationally, a total of 7,142 of the apartments will house about 8,930 senior citizens, and the remaining 1,801 apartments will house about 2,250 people with disabilities.

Most of the apartments funded by the grants will be newly constructed with the HUD funds, but some will be existing units that will be purchased, and rehabilitated when necessary.

Here is where the assistance will go in Maine under HUD's Section 202 Program to house the elderly and under the Section 811 Program to house people with disabilities:

Biddeford $2,881,700
Calais $728,400
Raymond $1,977,800
South Paris $485,900
State Total $6,073,800

Households must be classified as having very low incomes - defined as no more than 50 percent of area median income - to be eligible for the housing assistance. However, most people who live in housing funded by the Section 202 and Section 811 assistance have incomes of less than 30 percent of the area median. Median income varies by metropolitan area, but on a national basis 30 percent of median income works out to about $10,000 a year for one person and about $11,500 annually for a two-person household.

People living in the apartments will pay 30 percent of their income for rent, with HUD subsidies paying for the remainder.

The Section 202 Program helps expand the supply of affordable housing and also provides supportive services for the elderly. These services include cleaning, cooking and transportation to allow older Americans to live as independently as possible in their own apartments. Grant recipients receive capital advances to construct, rehabilitate or acquire housing. Repayment of the capital advance is not required as long as the housing remains available for at least 40 years and is occupied by very low-income people 62 years of age or older. Eligible grant recipients include private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives.

The Section 811 Program allows people with disabilities to live independently by increasing the supply of rental housing with supportive services and related facilities. As with the 202 Program, Section 811 grantees receive capital advances to construct, rehabilitate or acquire housing. Eligible applicants are very low-income people with a disability.

In addition to awarding the new grants, Cuomo issued a HUD report that said more than 7.4 million senior citizen households pay more than they can afford for housing - defined as more than 30 percent of their income. Others live in housing that is substandard or fails to accommodate their physical limitations or needs for assistance.

The report - titled Housing Our Elders: A Report Card on the Housing Conditions and Needs of Older Americans - identifies serious challenges to four key dimensions of elderly housing conditions in America: adequacy, affordability, accessibility and appropriateness.

The report finds that three out of four Americans approaching retirement age own their own homes, and that their housing affordability problems, though significant, are less frequent than among younger households. However, the report also finds that reduced income and increasing frailty of older Americans can place at risk years of financial, physical and emotional investment in homes and neighborhoods.

Some of the other key findings of the report include:

  • Six percent of seniors (1.45 million households) live in housing that needs repair and/or rehabilitation.

  • Approximately 1.7 million elderly households with low incomes are in urgent need of affordable housing because they spend more than half their incomes on housing.

  • The majority of elderly renters pay more than 50 percent of their incomes for housing.

  • Approximately 1.1 million elderly households report unmet needs for home modifications.

  • There is a shortage of fully accessible housing in both the owner-occupied and in rental stock.

Cuomo said HUD's new budget for Fiscal Year 2000 addresses many of the issues addressed in the report and provides funding to continue and expand elderly housing programs. These programs are part of the new Housing Security Plan for Older Americans and will enable HUD to develop a broad range of housing options - a continuum of care -- to meet the changing housing needs of senior citizens. These options include:

  • Continued funding of the Section 202 elderly housing program with $610 million for construction of housing.

  • A $50 million increase in funds to hire service coordinators, who help senior citizens get services they need to continue living in their HUD-subsidized apartments.

  • $50 million to convert existing HUD senior citizen housing to assisted living facilities for senior citizens who need a higher level of care. The legislation also allows seniors already receiving assistance through housing vouchers to use the vouchers in assisted living facilities for the first time, enabling many to avoid moving into more institutional and expensive nursing homes.

  • An expansion of HUD's reverse mortgage program, which allows older Americans to borrow against the value of their homes, so they don't have to sell their homes to get needed cash.


*Note: To calculate the approximate number of residents who will live in the new housing, multiply the number of units by 1.25.


Section 202 - Supportive Housing for the Elderly

Project Location: Biddeford, ME
Non-Profit Sponsor: York-Cumberland Housing Development Corp.
Capital Advance: $2,329,700
Five-year rental subsidy: $552,000
Number of Units: 35
Project description:

York-Cumberland Housing Development Corporation is sponsoring this 35-unit project for the elderly located in downtown Biddeford, Maine. This project will return to constructive use a site containing an old house. The house will remain on site due to its historic significance.

Project Location: Raymond, ME
Non-Profit Sponsor: York-Cumberland Housing Development Corp.
Capital Advance: $1,599,300
Five-year rental subsidy: $378,500
Number of Units: 24
Project description:

Sponsored by York-Cumberland Housing Development Corporation, this project will create 24 units of elderly housing in Raymond, Maine. The proposed project is located near shopping on Route 302 and recreation areas on nearby Sebago Lake.

Section 811 - Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

Project Location: Calais, ME
Non-Profit Sponsor: Washington Co Assoc for Retarded Citz
Capital Advance: $586,400
Five-year rental subsidy: $142,000
Number of Units: 9
Project description:

Washington County Association for Retarded Citizens is sponsoring the creation of 9 units of housing for persons who have developmental and/or physical disabilities. The project will provide transportation and job coaching as needed for employment at the Little River Apparel factory 25 miles away in Eastport, Maine. The goal of this project is to eventually encourage independent living in one's own apartment.

Project Location: South Paris, ME
Non-Profit Sponsor: Tri County Mental Health Services
Capital Advance: $390,900
Five-year rental subsidy: $95,000
Number of Units: 6
Project description:

This project will rehabilitate 6 units of housing for persons with chronic mental illness. Within a short walk are a variety of local businesses including restaurants, bakeries, grocery and hardware stores, libraries, health care facilities and churches. The site is also located near a public bus route offering easy access to areas outside of the immediate neighborhood.


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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