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House Panel Clears the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 (HR 5772)

August 6, 2008

On July 30, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously passed important legislation to spur investment in permanent supportive housing legislation and reform the HUD Section 811 program.  The bill, known as the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act (HR 5772), is sponsored by Congressman Chris Murphy (D- CT) and Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R – IL).  The bill is named in honor of the late Frank Melville, a longtime member of NAMI Connecticut, and the first board President of the Melville Charitable Trust – a leading force in promoting supportive housing for people with severe disabilities.

NAMI is hopeful that HR 5772 will be brought to the full House for vote in September.  This would allow the Senate to move forward on the bill before final adjournment.

Background on HR 5772

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.

HR 5772 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 "PRAC-only" Demonstration Program designed to vastly increase capital investment from other affordable housing programs; and  
  • 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 recovery and community integration are too often frustrated by the critical shortage of affordable and accessible housing, particularly the long-term housing operating subsidy provided by the Section 811 program.  Efforts to expand recovery through system transformation and investment programs such as assertive community treatment are also stymied because people with SSI-level incomes cannot afford modest rental housing in any community in the United States.

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.

Learn More

Read more information on HR 5772.