HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-184
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Friday
Or contact your local HUD office July 28, 2000


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today said that HUD will implement three new initiatives that will provide people with disabilities with more opportunities for home-and community-based care. Vice President Gore unveiled the HUD initiatives this week in commemoration of 10th anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"Access Housing 2000," a public-private partnership, will help people with disabilities move from nursing homes and other institutions to community living by providing affordable housing and support systems. Subject to appropriations, the partnership will be funded at $19.5 million over five years.

"This unique partnership will bring creative, aggressive leadership to helping people with disabilities fully join our communities," Cuomo said, pledging to move it forward. "As a nation we have taken great strides to level the playing field for the disabled, and we must continue to find new ways to provide every American an equal opportunity to succeed."

Joining HUD as partners are the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Program Office on Self-Determination, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. HUD will spearhead the five-year project targeted initially at 400 individuals, but with a goal of reaching 2,000 at full implementation. Participants will include low-income individuals with disabilities who live in nursing homes, state institutions, intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded, group homes, their parents' homes, and other similar programs.

The project will use Section 8 housing vouchers, Nursing Home Transition Grants, Ticket to Work, Work Incentive Improvement Act grants and other efforts to help people make the transition to community living.

"Access Housing 2000" will also encourage other public and private partners to bring more resources to the effort. The partners will explore ways to increase the use of individual development accounts for low-to moderate-income individuals with disabilities and their families.

The catalyst for the project was the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. The case involved two mentally disabled women who sought placement in community care rather than being institutionalized at a hospital psychiatric unit. The Court ruled that under the ADA, states are required to place people with disabilities in community settings rather than institutions when treatment professionals determine that community placement is appropriate and can be reasonably accommodated.

Next, Vice President Gore announced that HUD will intensify efforts to promote home ownership for persons with disabilities. FHA Administrator William Apgar will encourage approximately 10,000 FHA-approved mortgagees to "use increased, but prudent flexibility" when underwriting loan applications from individuals with disabilities.

Finally, the Vice President announced that HUD will be issuing a ruling that expands certain assistance policies and clarifies others.

For example, HUD is expanding its policies to allow certain individuals with disabilities to increase their annual incomes yet for a period of time not have that income used when determining housing assistance from the following programs: tenant-based Section 8 rental vouchers, HOME, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, or Supportive Housing for the Homeless. To be eligible for these "income disregards" a family must have a person with a disability who has been unemployed for one year or longer, has been participating in a job training/self sufficiency program or has received support in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families within the past six months.

The change, which should affect nearly 227,000 households, should take effect in the next fiscal year.

The ruling also clarifies HUD policy regarding allowable deductions when calculating a disabled person's housing assistance. These allowed deductions, which apply to all HUD housing assistance programs, include a $400 deduction for any disabled family, plus deductions to off-set medical expenses, reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses, and some child care expenses.

Note to editors: See HUD news release No. 00-185 involving a wheelchair-bound man who was unfairly denied rental housing.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009