For Immediate Release - February 14, 2013

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY JOINS HUD AND HHS TO ANNOUNCE $5.3 MILLION IN SUPPORTIVE HOUSING IN MASSACHUSETTS

HUD’s new rental assistance program to prevent homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization for low-income persons with disabilities; Funding announcement aligns with Patrick-Murray Administration’s goals towards increasing supportive housing

BOSTON – Thursday, February 14, 2013 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Christie Hager to announce a $5.3 million award to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as part of the state’s effort to increase supportive housing units and help hundreds of residents with disabilities avoid homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization.

DHCD will use this federal funding to offer rental assistance to 100 extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness. This funding offers permanent housing and critically needed supportive services to ensure these at-risk individuals find their place within the fabric of their community.  In addition to the 100 units funded by HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo), DHCD has committed 50 vouchers that will provide a rent subsidy to the same population.

“Governor Patrick and I have set an ambitious housing and homelessness agenda, including a goal to collaborate across 18 state agencies to create an additional 1,000 units of permanent, supportive housing in Massachusetts by 2015,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray, chair of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. “We thank HUD for providing this significant funding that will jumpstart our efforts in preventing and ending homelessness for residents with disabilities by securing housing assistance and supportive services through these new units.”

The HUD funding announced today is part of $98 million awarded nationwide to 13 state housing agencies for rental assistance to extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness. HUD’s Section 811 PRA Demo program enables persons with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of median income to live in integrated mainstream settings. 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.

“This funding and collaborative effort will have a tremendous impact here in Massachusetts,” said HUD New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields.  “We’re proud to be a partner in providing permanent supportive housing solutions to persons with disabilities here in the Commonwealth.”            

“These added resources will go a long way in ensuring that the most vulnerable of our neighbors across Massachusetts have roofs over their heads and the supportive services they need on a daily basis,” said Senator William “Mo” Cowan.  “I’m grateful to the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor for their hard work in fighting for issues critical to our state.”

“These funds will help provide affordable housing and supportive services for low income individuals with disabilities,” said Congressman Mike Capuano.  “It will give folks the opportunity to live on their own in the community, enhancing their quality of life and increasing their independence. This is exactly the type of program threatened by the sequester and I am proud to have played a role protecting this program and helping the state win this grant.”

Today’s funding award follows Lieutenant Governor Murray’s announcement in December 2012, launching a first-in-the-nation collaborative effort by 18 state agencies to create an additional 1,000 units of permanent, supportive housing in Massachusetts by 2015. The 18 Massachusetts agencies involved in a memorandum of understanding will partner to improve existing processes, make recommendations for new, collaborative efforts and develop a long-range action plan to meet the need for supportive housing among the Commonwealth’s residents. Additionally, the agencies will assess the extent of public cost-savings generated as a result of providing permanent supportive housing and will recommend strategic reinvestments.

DHCD and the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees the state’s Medicaid Agency and the Office of Disability Policies and Programs, have partnered on a number of highly effective service-enriched housing programs and will now work together on HUD’s Section 811 PRA Demo program. The proposed program is deliberately designed to be cross disability, serving a range of people with different disabilities and service needs, particularly participants in the new Medicaid Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program (a five year grant program funded by the federal Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services that supports elders and people with disabilities). Of the 100 units to be developed, 50 percent are projected to be in the greater Boston area and the remaining percentage of units will be located throughout the state.

“Funding for affordable housing is critical to accomplishing the goals of the Governor’s Community First agenda,” said HHS Secretary John Polanowicz. “The pairing of this funding with the long term services and supports through our Medicaid programs will ensure that more people can successfully transition out of institutional settings into the community.”

"This is an important next step in our goal to create 1,000 units of supportive housing over the next three years,” said DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “We look forward to working with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services on this unprecedented collaboration to create more housing options for people with disabilities."

Authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010, HUD’s Section 811 PRA Demo 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 deeply in need of affordable supportive housing.

To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s investments in affordable and supportive housing, visit www.mass.gov/dhcd.

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