Washington’s Commerce Department awarded $5.6 million in HUD rent supports for 275 unit of permanent housing for low-income with disabilities

Part of HUD & HHS initiative to provide permanent, supportive housing to prevent homelessness or institutionalization of the low-income disabled

SEATTLE – The Washington State Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) has been awarded $5,580,280 to provide project-based rental assistance to up to 275 units for extremely low income people with disabilities as part of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services effort to prevent people with disabilities from homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization,

Washington is one of 13 states to today awarded almost $97.9 million in HUD Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRAD) funds.  Commerce will collaborate with the state Department of Social and Health Services, the Washington Health Care Authority and the Washington Housing Finance Commission to create 275 units of permanent, supportive housing for persons with disabilities

Rental assistance provided by HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration enables income-eligible persons with disabilities to live permanently in mainstream settings and contribute no more than 30 percent of their income to rent.  The state housing agencies are working closely with their state Medicaid and health and human service counterparts to identify, refer, and conduct outreach to persons with disabilities who require long-term services and supports to live independently.

“Two federal agencies are working together to solve common sense problems and offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “We’re helping states reduce health care costs, improving quality of life for persons with disabilities, and ending homelessness as we know it.”

“These funds will provide a significant increase in the inventory of permanent, supportive housing,” said Mary McBride, HUD’s Northwest Regional Administrator, “ and also enable us to identify innovative and replicable ways to better serve very low-income people with disabilities

In addition to Washington state, other states awarded PRAD funding totaling $97.8 million today include California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The $5,580,280 in PRAD funds awarded to the Washington Department of Commerce will provide rental assistance for the 275 units for a period of five years with annual renewals thereafter based upon Congressional appropriations.  No more than 25 percent of the units receiving PRAD in a building may receive PRAD funding and the property owner must agree to maintain the units as affordable to very low-income persons with disabilities for at least 30 years. PRAD funds may only be used for rental assistance and administration (no more than 5 percent)

Commerce currently manages five major housing programs providing permanent supportive housing for disabled persons.  In addition to its commitment and responsibility to provide services to persons with disabilities, DSHS has five years of experience operating programs, such as its Roads to Community Living (Money Follows the Person demonstration project), which mirrors the 811 Demonstration program approach.  The Washington State HCA and WSHFC will play supportive roles to the two principal agencies.  The target populations under the Section 811 PRAD are particularly vulnerable, extremely low-income persons with disabilities that receive or are eligible to receive long term services and supports through DSHS, as well as eligible individuals currently enrolled in the Roads to Community Living Project, which includes persons with significant developmental, functional, or cognitive disabilities.  In addition, this grant will assist in achieving the administration’s 10-year goal of ending homelessness. Seattle has been identified as having one of the country’s highest chronically homeless populations.

Today’s announcement is consistent with the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act  and with the landmark 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires state and local governments to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

The rental assistance announced today also supports the Obama Administration’s strategy to prevent and end homelessness.  The Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness (DOEH) Initiative is a joint effort by HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to help communities match their homeless supports with other mainstream resources such as housing choice vouchers, public housing, private multifamily housing units, and other federally funded services.  The initiative is beginning in 10 critically important communities: Atlanta, Chicago, Fresno County, Los Angeles County, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix/Maricopa County, Seattle, and Tampa.

Authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010, HUD’s PRAD program provides funding to states for project-based rental assistance to develop permanent affordable housing options in integrated settings for extremely low-income persons with disabilities.  Under the state health care/housing agency partnership, each state has in place a policy for referrals, tenant selection, and service delivery to ensure that this housing is targeted to those persons with disabilities most in need of deeply affordable supportive housing.


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