Housing for the Elderly:

Information on HUD's Section 202 and HOME Investment Partnerships Programs

RCED-98-11: Published: Nov 14, 1997. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the similarities and differences between the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and HOME Investment Partnership Program, focusing on: (1) the amount and types of new multifamily rental housing that each program has provided for the elderly; (2) the sources of each program's funding for multifamily rental projects; and (3) the availability of supportive services for elderly residents.

GAO noted that: (1) during fiscal year (FY) 1992 through FY 1996, the Section 202 program substantially exceeded the HOME program in providing multifamily rental housing that was set aside for elderly households; (2) over 1,400 Section 202 projects opened during this time, providing homes for nearly 48,000 elderly residents; (3) at the same time, the HOME program provided housing assistance to 21,457 elderly households, including 675 elderly residents in 30 multifamily rental projects comparable to those developed under the Section 202 program; (4) the Section 202 program produced new multifamily rental housing for low-income elderly households through new construction, rehabilitation of existing buildings, and acquisition of existing properties that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation obtained through foreclosure; (5) the HOME program provided housing assistance to address the most pressing housing needs that local communities and states identified among low-income people of all ages; (6) for the elderly, HOME assistance helped rehabilitate the homes they already owned and in which they still lived, provided tenant-based rental assistance, helped new homebuyers make down payments and pay closing costs, and made funds available to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate single-family and multifamily rental housing; (8) in the Section 202 program, the capital advance, which HUD provides to a project's sponsor, is the only significant source of funds for developing the project; (9) in general, a HOME project typically attracts significant levels of additional public and private funding; (10) HOME multifamily housing that is similar to Section 202 projects is usually financed with a combination of HOME funds and other federal and nonfederal funds; (11) HUD does not pay for supportive services, such as transportation or subsidized meals programs, through the HOME program but does do so under limited circumstances through the Section 202 program; (12) the extent to which the Section 202 and HOME projects provided these services on-site for their residents usually depended on each project's ability to generate the operating income needed to pay for the services; (13) these projects often depended on and referred their residents to community-based supportive services; (14) five of the eight Section 202 projects that GAO visited employed a staff person or expected their on-site resident manager to coordinate services; and (15) both projects in many cases had common areas or activity rooms that service providers or residents could use for community-based services, group social or educational activities, and dining.

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