811 Rental Assistance for Non-Elderly Adults with Disabilities, MFP and Medicaid. Information Bulletin #350 (2/2012).
In the next few months, HUD will issue a Request for Proposals pursuant to the Melville Housing Investment Act which will significantly impact on non-elderly disabled people both institutionalized and in the community. This Information Bulletin reviews one aspect of the Act where Disability Advocates should focus their advocacy.
The Melville Act provides for “Project Rental Assistance” grants – rent subsidies for low-income disabled persons. This rental assistance can be affixed to either a new or existing multifamily project that (primarily) receives low-income housing tax credits or HOME Investment Partnership assistance. Most likely, your State housing finance agency, the entity that administers your LIHTC, will be the applicant for this rental assistance.
However, there is another State Agency which is critical - your Medicaid state agency -- the same state agency which funds Money Follows the Person grants and the same state agency that funds nursing homes and home and community-based services via Medicaid’s waiver or personal care option programs.
Here’s how the two State agencies fit together with regards to Project Rental Assistance grants.
Before a State housing finance agency (or other agency) can apply for project rental assistance funds, the State housing finance agency must have “entered into [an] agreement” with your State Medicaid agency. Statutorily, this written agreement must:
1. “identify the target populations to be served by the project;”
2. “set forth methods for outreach and referral” to receive the project rental assistance grants; and
3. “make available appropriate services for tenants of the project,” if services are necessary.
Therefore, MFP programs, CILs, and other disability advocates must:
1. Make sure your State Medicaid office’s written agreement with the State housing finance agency targets potential MFP consumers. These project rental assistance grants provide housing subsidies institutionalized people desperately need.
2. Get your outreach and referrals ready to roll.
3. Determine what services a person might need to transition out of the institution. Be specific.
Your State housing finance agency cannot apply for these housing funds without your State Medicaid agency’s agreement. This means that your State Medicaid agency can ensure that these Project Rental Assistance grants are used to transition people out of institutions and addresses the MFP population.
We will send another Information Bulletin when HUD issues its RFP, but MFP, CILs, and other disability advocates should initiate a dialogue NOW with your state Medicaid officials. Don’t wait. Do it now.
Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues
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