|HUD No. 00-197|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||11:00 a.m. Tuesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||August 1, 2000|
CUOMO SAYS PROPOSED CUTS TO HUD BUDGET WOULD MEAN LESS HOUSING FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
BROOKLYN, NY - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today urged Congress not to cut the proposed HUD budget because it would limit the number of new units of housing and supportive services available for the elderly. Cuomo was joined in making the announcement by Cong. Ed Towns as both men toured a HUD-funded senior citizen facility in Brooklyn.
President Clinton proposed a fiscal year 2001 HUD budget that would increase elderly housing programs by $69 million to $779 million. The House has voted to freeze funding for elderly programs at $710 million, the funding for the current fiscal year. The Senate has yet to act on HUD's budget for next year.
"How can this nation, in a time of unprecedented economic prosperity, allow elderly people to sacrifice buying food and medicine so they can pay the rent?" Cuomo asked. "We must take better care of the elderly -- our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends -- the people who raised us, who fought this country's wars, who made this country what it is today."
Speaking at the Eileen Dugan Senior Center in Brooklyn after touring Carroll Gardens Senior Housing (St. Mary of the Sea), a HUD-funded senior housing development, Cuomo said the President's proposed HUD budget is needed to meet the growing demands for affordable senior citizen housing.
The "Housing Security Plan for Older Americans," announced by Vice President Gore in January 1999, is HUD's aggressive plan for meeting the challenge of housing the nation's seniors. The FY 2000 budget included major elements of the Plan so HUD could begin to offer a fuller range of options for the elderly by combining new and existing HUD programs and improving coordination with other Federal assistance. In the FY2001 budget, HUD proposes to build on FY 2000 with additional resources for new construction and conversion of existing developments to assisted living facilities.
A key part of HUD's elderly housing portfolio is its highly successful Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program. The President has requested $629 million for the production of new units -- an increase of $19 million -- but the House version does not include the increase.
The Section 202 program works with local non-profit organizations to create housing tailored to the needs of senior citizens and offers rental assistance to the very-low income elderly who will live in those units. Currently there are 43 Section 202 programs in Brooklyn. Since 1996, HUD has provided $50.8 million in Section 202 funding to Brooklyn.
"This is indeed an auspicious day for Carroll Gardens," Rep. Towns said. "Sec. Cuomo has always championed senior citizen housing. I am heartened by the fact that President Clinton rightfully proposed a increase in Section 202 funding. Carroll Gardens seniors deserve the best. I intend to fight for Section 202 funding on behalf of our beloved seniors here in Carroll Gardens."
Carroll Gardens Senior Housing, sponsored by the Progress of Peoples Development, provides 100 units of affordable senior housing in Brooklyn. Progress of Peoples Development, affiliated with the Brooklyn Diocese, has developed more than 1,800 units of HUD-funded affordable senior housing, the majority in Brooklyn.
In addition, the President's budget request further expands access to assisted living for lower-income elderly by spurring the construction of affordable assisted living facilities. Next year's budget request proposes $50 million to help more than 1,500 low-income elderly receive long-term access to assisted living facilities. The recent House version of HUD's budget, however, failed to provide any funding for this activity.
The Administration also proposes for fiscal year 2001: ·
- $50 million to convert part or all of existing
Section 202 properties to assisted living facilities.
- $50 million for Service Coordinators, who
enable the elderly, especially the frail or those with disabilities, to
continue to live as independently as possible by helping them to obtain
- $4 million to establish Intergenerational Learning Centers to benefit seniors and children. This also was not funded in the House version of the HUD budget.
Overall, the President in February proposed to increase HUD's budget by $6 billion to $32.1 billion, reflecting the Administration's approval of the sweeping management reforms instituted by Sec. Cuomo. The request was the largest HUD budget in more than 20 years, with increases in every program area. However, the House subcommittee that oversees HUD appropriations in May cut $2.5 billion from the request.
Following is a breakdown of the Administration's proposed housing budget for the elderly:
|Elderly Housing Production (Section 202)||$610||$629||$610|
|Assisted Living Production||.||$50|
|Conversion to Assisted Living||$50||$50||$50|
|Intergenerational Learning Centers||[$4]|
|Total, Elderly Programs||$710||$779||$710|