HUD Grants Create More Housing

US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo recently announced nearly $132 million in grants that non-profit groups will use to create housing for about 1,600 people with disabilities.

Cuomo said that the funding, which will help provide nearly 1,500 homes for people capable of living independently, may be used to construct new housing, or acquire or rehabilitate existing housing. Some support services, such as counseling, advocacy and referral services, transportation, and assistance in obtain employment, may also be provided.

“People with disabilities shouldn’t have to struggle to find suitable housing,” Cuomo said. “Our goal at HUD is to make sure that all Americans live in homes that are affordable, decent and safe,”

The housing, most of which will be newly constructed, typically is small apartment buildings for no more than 18 people, group homes for three or four people per home, or condominium units. Cuomo said that residents will pay 30 percent of their income for rent and the federal government will pay the rest.

The grants were awarded under HUD’s Section 811 program, which provides housing for households with one or more very low-income individuals, at least one of whom is at least 18 years old and has a disability, such as a physical or developmental disability or chronic mental illness. The term “person with disabilities” also includes two or more people with disabilities living together, and one or more persons with disabilities living with one or more live-in attendants.

For a household to be classified as very low-income, its total income cannot exceed 50 percent of the area median income. However, most households that receive Section 811 assistance have an income equal to or less than 30 percent of the area median. Generally, this means that a one-person household will have an annual income of about $10,000, and a two-person household will have an income of about $11,500.

The law also calls for Social Security to establish work incentive experts in field offices to provide accurate and ready information to beneficiaries, caregivers, community groups, and other interested parties. The specialists, called “employment support representatives,” are being tested in 32 offices.

Ernployment support representatives provide a focal point for our work incentive’s delivery system and should make a Teal difference in how well we can help people take advantage of the benefits under the new law.

For more information, visit our Internet website, Social Security Online at www.ssa.gov/ work or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213.