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HUD Announces Award Of 1999 Housing Funds For The Section 811 Program

For Immediate Release, 22 Nov 99
Contact: Chris Marshall

On November 19, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) formally announced the release of more than $150 million in housing funds for low-income, non-elderly people with disabilities, including adults with severe mental illnesses. These funds were awarded through the HUD Section 811 program that directs capital advances and project-based rental assistance to non-profit organizations. These announcements follow the release in October of $133 million in tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance directed to non-elderly people with disabilities that is administered by local housing authorities and small number of non-profits. With both of these programs, NAMI advocates have a critical role to play in making sure that these resources reach adults with severe mental illnesses in need.

Section 811 Capital Advance and Project-Based Assistance

For 1999, non-profit disability organizations competed nationally for the nearly $150 million in Section 811 funds that were available. These awards will fund 1,801 units that will serve an estimated 2,250 low-income tenants with severe disabilities. In many cases, NAMI organizations worked with CMHCs, MHAs and other organizations to apply directly to HUD (NAMI Delaware received its own 811 award). The winning applicants for this portion of the Section 811 program will receive both a capital advance (a grant to fund rehabilitation or construction of housing) and a defined number of project-based subsidies (to cover operating expenses of housing that will serve low-income people with disabilities).

As part of its November 19 announcement, HUD issued a list of the successful applicants. That state-by-state list can be accessed by visiting: NAMI advocates are encouraged to contact successful applicants in their community in order to ensure consumer and family input into decisions about tenant selection policies and available supportive services.

Section 811 Tenant-Based Funds and Section 8 "Designation" Vouchers

In addition to the release of the 1999 Section 811 capital advance and project-based assistance awards, HUD has also disbursed tenant-based rental assistance funding awards to housing agencies and non-profit disability organizations as part of the agency's 1999 budget. The release of these funds means that adults with severe mental illnesses, and their families, need to continue approach the housing authorities and non-profits that were awarded funds to apply to receive tenant-based rental vouchers.

On October 6, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced that $133 million in rental assistance vouchers were being awarded to provide housing for nearly 18,000 low-income individuals and families - 10,800 of them for people with disabilities. These vouchers enable recipients to get apartments by paying generally no more than 30% of their income (including Social Security disability benefits) as rent, with HUD paying the remainder. $68.6 million of this total is for the Section 811 "mainstream" program that will assist about 7,000 low-income people with disabilities. $20 million of this total is for the "designated" housing program intended to make up for the loss of public and assisted housing through "elderly-only" designation.

Housing authorities and non-profit disability organizations are the only entities that were eligible to apply directly to HUD for these funds. People with severe mental illnesses and their families, however, are now eligible to apply directly to the awardee housing authorities and non-profits to get housing assistance. NAMI advocates are also encouraged contact the awardee housing authorities and non-profits directly to inquire about how to apply for funds. Housing authorities that attempt to discourage applications by claiming "our waiting list is closed" should be reminded that they just received new HUD resources that can only go to low-income people with disabilities - including adults with sever mental illnesses. Remind them of the tremendous unmet need for housing and services in your community and their responsibility to ensure that consumers have unfettered access to waiting lists and that the highest priority is placed on serving non-elderly adults with the most severe disabilities.

A full state-by-state listing of the awardees can be viewed through HUD's website at: Only non-elderly people with disabilities are eligible for the "designated housing" and "mainstream" vouchers allocated to housing authorities and non-profits listed for each state.

For more information about HUD's programs, housing opportunities for non-elderly adults with severe disabilities and information on how to advocate for more housing resources in your community, contact the "Opening Doors" website at:

This website is coordinated by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and is made possible by the Melville Charitable Trust and the CCD Housing Task Force (of which NAMI is a member organization).