WASHINGTON - Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3) has introduced the Senior Veterans Housing Assistance Act of 2011 (H.R. 3546). The bill would make sure that government regulations do not pose an impediment to providing access to affordable housing for seniors who have served our nation. This issue came to light because of conflicting rules and regulations between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during the planned construction of housing at the Dayton VA Medical Center (VAMC).
“St. Mary’s has had a successful history in building and placing our community’s senior citizens in affordable housing. I asked St. Mary’s to consider the VAMC site to expand their senior housing development. I am glad that they have undertaken this effort which will help return the VAMC facility to its original mission as a home for our senior veterans,” said Turner.
St. Mary's Neighborhood Development Corporation has been attempting for several years to construct senior housing on the campus of the Dayton VAMC. St. Mary's was able to obtain an enhanced-use lease from the VA to construct the housing and also obtained HUD Section 202 funding to allow for the financing of the construction for low-income senior housing. In this case, VA provided the land and HUD provided funding.
Both agencies agreed that this would be an excellent project to help homeless veterans, provide low-income housing for veterans, and respond to the needs of seniors in the community. However, HUD asserted that St. Mary's was unable to use these critical dollars if the VA lease required a specific preference for veterans to occupy the proposed facility on the VA grounds. The VA rules and regulations require that the VA assert and request a preference for veterans for housing to be built on its campus.
“In the 111th Congress, the House unanimously approved and the President enacted into law a provision I authored to solve this issue. Specifically, the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations measure included a prohibition on enforcement of HUD’s restriction against a preference for veterans. However, this solution was only temporary,” said Turner.
Specifically, the bill will allow HUD funds to be used for supportive housing for the elderly that provide preference to veterans if the property is or would be located on VA land, or is subject to an enhanced-use lease with the VA.
“To ensure that these conflicting regulations do not present further, long-term obstacles for our veterans and seniors, I have introduced the Senior Veterans Housing Assistance Act. My bill will permanently ensure that organizations that seek to provide our senior veterans with affordable housing with HUD funds on VA property are able to overcome the HUD and VA conflicting rules and regulations,” added Turner.