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U.S. Senate committee votes to support housing for disabled

Posted by: VHFA on 10/1/2010

Yesterday the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee voted unanimously to support the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 (S.1481). The legislation reforms the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development's (HUD) Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities.

S.1481 authorizes an innovative 811 demonstration program that promotes integrated housing opportunities for people with disabilities and could create 3,500-5,000 or more new affordable and accessible units every year without increasing Section 811 appropriations. During recent years, the program has produced fewer than 1,000 units annually.

This bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE).

"People with disabilities often struggle to access affordable housing that allows them to live independently, and that problem is worse in tough economic times," said Sen. Menendez.

"The demand for this is huge at a time when more than 1.3 million Americans with disabilities spend more than 50% of their income on rent.

"This bill will insure that people with disabilities can keep a roof over their heads. Today's important step brings us closer to increasing the availability of that badly-needed housing for people with disabilities, and we are working to make it law."

"Affordable housing is crucial to the independence of our fellow Americans with disabilities," Sen. Johanns said. "Exploring ways to redesign housing options available to them without adding to the budget deficit is part of our responsibility to create the most efficient and effective federal programs."

Next, the legislation comes up for a vote in the full Senate.

The House of Representatives passed a similar bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 357-51 on July 22, 2009.

More information on this legislation is available at the Technical Assistance Collaborative site.