In an effort to advance the maintenance and upgrading of senior housing facilities, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is contemplating using private financing to fund such projects.
Tom Davis, director of HUD’s office of recapitalization, has told the Wall Street Journal that bringing in money from the private sector might help the agency “avoid the kind of capital backlog problem that other parts of the affordable housing portfolio have.”
There are currently more than 2,900 properties owned and managed by HUD that are geared for seniors.
Those properties, some of which were built in the 1960s, are in various states of condition, with almost all needing some form of repair.
As the country’s population ages, the need for senior public housing continues to grow. Last year, Congress passed legislation providing up to $100 million in funding for the construction of new senior housing.
But HUD officials say maintaining current senior housing space, which often entails heating and cooling system upgrades, as well as roof repairs, is just as pressing as the need to build new space.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has described keeping those properties up to date as one of the agency’s top priorities for the next several years.
If HUD ultimately allows for the use of private funding to be used in senior housing upgrades, it will be a first in the department’s nearly 55-year history.
It is not known when the department will make a final determination on the matter.
By Garry Boulard
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