HUD To Offer Housing Assistance To 4,000 Americans With Disabilities

On June 22, 2009 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development joined President Obama’s commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision by announcing that it will offer rental assistance to 4,000 non-elderly families with disabilities, including 1,000 vouchers specifically targeted to those transitioning out of nursing homes and other care facilities.

Through its funding notice, HUD is seeking comment from public housing authorities and others to ensure this critically needed assistance is distributed and administered in the most effective manner possible.

The announcement coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W. which affirmed the rights of individuals with disabilities to live independently. To commemorate this landmark decision, President Obama declared 2009 the Year of Community Living.

“As individuals with disabilities leave institutional care, it is essential that they have housing options that will allow them to live independently,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “As we prepare to launch this initiative, we also want to make certain that we get input from local housing experts, disability rights advocates and others who can help us target this assistance to those who need it most. We also recognize how important it is for HUD and HHS to coordinate our resources to enable community-living for those individuals that live with disabilities.”

HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will make $30 million in voucher assistance available to support approximately 4,000 Housing Choice Vouchers for non-elderly disabled families. HUD is making a 1,000 of those vouchers available specifically for individuals transitioning out of nursing homes and other institutions. These vouchers directly support a $1.75 billion initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help persons who reside in health care settings move to community-based living. While HHS’ Money Follows the Person (MFP) program offers health care, case management and other services to qualified families, it does not include funding for housing. HUD’s funding initiative is designed to fill that gap.

The remaining 3,000 Housing Choice Vouchers are available to assist any non-elderly disabled family. The Department is encouraging local housing authorities to give strong consideration to using some or all of these vouchers to provide housing for those non-elderly persons that are living in the community, but are at-risk for institutionalization.