HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 01-061
Further information:
In the Washington, DC area: (202) 708-0685
Or contact your local HUD office
For Release
June 19, 2001


en español

WASHINGTON - As part of the President's executive order yesterday implementing the Olmstead Supreme Court decision, low-income disabled persons will soon be living more independent lives thanks to two new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pilot programs.

In Project Access, an 11-state pilot program, HUD will distribute 400 new housing vouchers to assist disabled individuals.

The new Homeownership Voucher Pilot Program for Disabled Families, will allow disabled families with incomes up to 99 percent of the area median to use Section 8 vouchers, previously used only for renting, to purchase a modest home without paying more than 30 percent of their income for homeownership expenses.

"Somewhere along the way, society began confusing 'disability' with 'inability,'" HUD Secretary Mel Martinez said. "These programs will allow people with disabilities to leave institutions and become part of a community like most Americans."

Project Access, will be launched in the following states: Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington. HUD expects the first vouchers to be distributed within the next three months.

HUD is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement this program. While HUD is supplying the vouchers and technical assistance, HHS, through state Medicaid agencies, will use Nursing Home Transition Grants, Medicaid funds and other resources to better help these disabled voucher holders make the transition to community living arrangements.

HUD's action will help states and communities meet the goals of the 1999 Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. The high court ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, states must provide programs and services to persons with disabilities in community settings if doctors or other treatment professionals conclude it's appropriate and can be reasonably accommodated.

In the past year, HUD has distributed more than 13,000 Section 8 vouchers to housing authorities specifically for persons with disabilities. These vouchers will also further the goals of the Olmstead decision.

"I firmly believe everyone should have the opportunity to live the American Dream and today we are literally providing more access to the Dream than ever," said Martinez.

The nation's 2,500 public housing agencies (PHAs) that participate in the Section 8 program will oversee the homeownership pilot program, determining eligibility and enforcing the rules. To participate in the program, families must be eligible for a Section 8 voucher and be disabled under the terms as defined by law.

A family must have an annual household income of at least $10,000 and must not be a current homeowner to be considered for the program. Welfare income can be counted toward the minimum income requirement and there is no maximum term of homeownership assistance as with non-disabled families.

Each family will be responsible for obtaining the necessary mortgage financing. The housing authority may review lender qualifications and loan terms before approving assistance, and may disapprove proposed financing or refinancing. Local or state community development block grant funds or other subsidies may also be used in conjunction with the program.

Two inspections must be completed prior to the purchase of a home. The first will be conducted by the PHA to insure that the home meets certain standards, and the second will be conducted by an independent certified home inspector, selected and paid for by the family, to identify any needed repairs.

If a family defaults on the mortgage while in the program, the PHA may permit the family to move to a new unit with continued homeownership assistance if the default is due to catastrophic medical reasons or the impact of a federally declared disaster or emergency. If a family defaults for other reasons, the family would be eligible for Section 8 rental assistance, but not homeownership.

Project Access state voucher information:

Public Housing Authorities
Number of Vouchers
  1. Pennsylvania
    Housing Authorities of the Counties of Dauphin, Lehigh, Cumberland, and Schuylkill
    Dauphin County HA would serve as the lead agency in partnership with the other 3 HA
50 (to be divided among the 4 PHAs)
  1. Colorado
    Colorado Department of Human Services, Supportive Housing and Homeless Progra
  1. Florida
    Miami-Dade Housing Agenc
  1. New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Housing Finance Authorit
  1. Michigan
    Michigan State Housing Development Authorit
  1. New Jersey
    New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Housing and Community Resource
  1. Washington
    King County Housing Authority, Seattle Housing Authority, Housing Authority of Thurston County
    • King County HA would serve as the lead agency in partnership with the other 2 HA
50 (to be divided among the 3 HAs)
  1. Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City Housing Authorit
  1. Oregon
    Northwest Oregon Housing Association (NOHA)
    • NOHA would serve as lead agency in a partnership with Portland HA and Lincoln HA
20 (to be divided among up to 3 PHAs)
  1. New Mexico
    Albuquerque Housing Service
  1. Texas
    Texas Department of Housing and Community Affair



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