HUD opens grant process for $115 million in senior housing funding

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Federal housing officials were in Philadelphia last week to announce the availability of $115 million in funding nationwide to create affordable units for older residents.

Nonprofits have until June to apply for the money, which can be used to build, acquire or rehabilitate properties. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, known as Section 202, also provides ongoing rental assistance for tenants.

“Creating these homes will enable older adults to live independently,” HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman said in a statement. “It is important that we provide opportunities for seniors of modest means to age with grace and dignity in a supportive environment.”

The capital funds, used for construction and other physical site costs, act as no-interest loans that do not have to be repaid if the property remains low-income senior housing for at least 40 years.

Residents of Section 202 properties, who must be 62 or older, typically pay 30% of their income in rent, with HUD covering the remainder. Tenants live independently and receive additional support on-site, such as nutrition, transportation and health services.

For the first time, part of the grant funding – up to $35 million in capital dollars – is being set aside for intergenerational units, suitable for grandparents or other elderly caregivers raising children under the age of 18.

HUD spokesperson Zachary Nosanchuk said the department does not have a timeline for grant decisions. The program is expected to fund about 20 projects, with a maximum award of $20 million, according to HUD documents.

In October, the department announced $160 million in Section 202 grants, with one of the recipients being Philadelphia-based Opportunities Services Corp., which plans to use $2.1 million for 41 units.

The Section 202 program was created in 1959, and it supports dozens of housing developments in the city and region, including Fairthorne Senior Housing in Roxborough, where HUD held a news conference Wednesday.

Residents must be part of a household that makes no more than 50% of area median income to be eligible for the program. For the Philadelphia region, that is $39,100 for a single person and $55,800 for a family of four.

Each Section 202 site is individually-run, so interested residents should contact a location’s property manager. A map showing subsidized developments for seniors is available at by selecting “Find Affordable Elderly and Special Needs Housing.”

‘Housing For All’ is a two-year project in which Metro Philadelphia will investigate the city’s affordable housing crisis. It is made possible by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism’s Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grant.