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LeadingAge Supports Rural Housing "Decoupling"

(May 14, 2024) On April 26th, LeadingAge joined other national organizations in a letter led by the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing supporting bill H.R. 6785, which would allow for the decoupling of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service’s Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) program when the Section 515 mortgage loan expires.

While USDA’s Rural Development agency was given authority in fiscal year 2024 to implement a demonstration program for 1,000 units in properties where a mortgage will expire, H.R. 6785 would permanently allow decoupling and allow RA to continue for the properties, preserving an important source of housing for low-income residents in rural communities throughout the country.

“The decoupling of the 521 RA is vital to preserving RD’s affordable housing portfolio because when a Section 515 mortgage ends, whether through prepayment or foreclosure or maturity, Section 521 RA also ends, exposing below-market residents to market rents and turning assisted properties into market rate properties. In 300 counties, Section 515 properties are the majority of project-based federally subsidized units and 90% of all Section 515 properties are in counties with persistent poverty,” the letter says.

The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO). LeadingAge also supports the bill’s Senate companion, S.2790, co-sponsored by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD).

Read the letter here.

Contact: Annalyse Komoroske Denio, akomoroskedenio@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8866