National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Background on HR 5772

April 23, 2008

The HUD Section 811 program is the only federal housing program solely dedicated to assisting the lowest income people with serious and long-term disabilities to live independently in the community by providing integrated affordable rental housing linked with voluntary services and supports.

This essential legislation will help address the enormous and unrelenting housing crisis faced by millions of extremely low income people with disabilities and will spur the creation of thousands of new 811 units every year by:

  • Authorizing a new Section 811 Demonstration Program that fulfills the promise of true community integration as envisioned in the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Enacting long over-due reforms and improvements to the existing Section 811 production program essential for the program’s long-term viability.

Recent CCD Housing Task Force/TAC studies document that people with serious and long term disabilities – including the vast majority of the four million non-elderly adults living on federal Supplemental Security Income of approximately $637 per month – have the greatest unmet need for housing assistance in the United States.  Current federal, state and local efforts to achieve the promise of community integration for people with disabilities, reduce unnecessary and expensive institutionalization, and assist aging parents who have adult children with disabilities still living at home are completely stalled because of the critical shortage of affordable and accessible housing, particularly the long-term housing operating subsidy provided by the Section 811 program. Important Medicaid reforms to expand self-directed services and promote rehabilitation and recovery for people with disabilities are also stymied because people with SSI-level incomes cannot afford modest rental housing in any community in the United States.

The enactment of HR 5772 will provide states and localities with a new infusion of critically needed Section 811 capital and project-based rent subsidy funding designed to invigorate and sustain the systematic creation of thousands of new permanent supportive housing units every year through partnerships with state housing finance agencies, county and local governments, and non-profit housing providers.

TAC and the CCD Housing Task Force look forward to working with Congress and with Section 811 stakeholders across the nation to ensure that this essential and critically needed legislation is enacted as soon as possible.  More information on this important legislation will soon be available on TAC’s website.