As a result of the negotiations over the 2012 federal budget, it has been decided that the funding for the governmental program which pays for the construction of homes for old adults with low income to be eliminated.
No more homes
The Congress approved the defunding of future projects of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a result of the decision, the funding for the people included in the Section 202 program will still receive money, but new homes will not be constructed. As a result, after 2012, the constructions of homes will halt.
Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program also helps the elders over 62 who need assistance with daily living activities with housing subsidies, as long as the meet certain income guidelines specified by the state. With the passing of the bill, the subsidies will be offered only to the people who are already included in the program. According to the documents, the people included in Section 202, have an average income of $13,500 per year.
This week the Department of Housing and Urban Development used $545 million from the 2010-11 budget in order to construct around 11 facilities which would provide care for more than 4,000 old adults. Because of the new government decision, these facilities could be the last ones built. The program was created in 1959, and since then, it has built more than 400,000 facilities, sometimes more than 20,000 in a year.
Many in Need
More than 1.3 million people with ages over 62 met the requirements created by HUD. The majority of these people spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. However, there are way more people who wait to be included on the list. It seems that for each new facility built, there are 10 people on the waiting list. Nancy Libson, senior housing policy expert for LeadingAge, one of the aging services from the program, stated that these people really deserve these homes. Many of them live on the streets, others live in their cars, and some live with their children.
He said that the program initiated by HUD saves money, because usually, these people are sent to nursing homes, and that the government pays for the expenses. In the majority of the cases people do not need, or they do not want to go to nursing homes. According to a 2011 study, the government has to pay around $70,000 yearly for each person from a nursing home. The cost for a person included in the HUD program is $7,500 per year. Robin Keller, vice president of affordable housing for Volunteers of America, stated that this program is the best of its kind in the country, because it is the only one which helps the very poor older adults from the country.
It seems that the problem keeps on getting worse, especially because of these harsh financial times. Keller said that this is the best program to help the ones in need, especially since there are so many people who need help.