“The reforms the Obama Administration has made to the Section 811 program will strengthen HUD’s efforts to provide affordable, supportive housing to thousands of the most vulnerable low-income persons with disabilities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services are also seizing the opportunity to support innovative state-level strategies to transform and increase the availability of affordable housing, matched with needed services and supports, that will help keep people with disabilities out of institutions and integrated into the community.”
“We are excited about this new opportunity for housing with services for people with disabilities,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Our collaboration with HUD is critically important to helping people with disabilities lead productive lives as members of their communities. This is a priority for our Department, which is reflected in the recent creation of the Administration for Community Living. This agency provides leadership within HHS and across the federal government to make sure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live in the community with the right mix of services and supports.”
To ensure this at-risk population gets quality, cost-effective service, HUD and HHS are aligning housing and healthcare services at the state level. Under new eligibility requirements, only state or local housing agencies that are currently administering affordable housing programs are eligible for these funds. In addition, these entities must have established a formal partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide for referrals, tenant selection and perform other casework activities to ensure that individuals with the most critical need receive this supportive housing assistance. The funding must be used for rental assistance only and not for construction or rehabilitation.
“The Section 811 Program is a lifeline for people in the disability community who want to live normal lives in society, but cannot afford the cost of even modest rental housing. These reforms make the program even more significant to improve the lives of thousands more people with long-term disabilities access to services in the community,” said Andrew Sperling, housing Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force.
This round of funding will also target the assistance to “extremely” low-income persons with disabilities – those who are at or below 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) – and limits to only 25 percent the number of apartments that can be set-aside for supportive housing for persons with disabilities in a building. These measures, and other reforms to the Section 811 program, are the result of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 – groundbreaking legislation President Obama signed on January 4, 2011 to revitalize and reform the program to improve services to this population.