Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Aging Committee, is cosponsoring legislation to ensure senior housing facilities have the resources needed to keep older adults safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act would provide $1.2 billion for two critical Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance programs for older adults to ensure that federally-assisted senior housing facilities can keep vulnerable older adults safely housed and protected during the pandemic.

“This pandemic has caused steep and unique barriers for older Americans, especially those living in federally-assisted housing,” Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “It is our job as public servants to protect our most vulnerable and we must ensure that low-income seniors are safely housed during this crisis.”

The average age of residents in Section 202 properties for older adults is 79, putting many at high risk for contracting COVID-19, Gillibrand said, adding that funding for senior housing facilities are critical to provide necessary PPE, staffing capability and other resources to keep older Americans safe.

The bill would provide funding to the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance programs. The funding would include $845 million for obtaining PPE, cleaning and disinfecting properties, hiring additional staff and providing rental assistance.

The bill also includes:

• $50 million to install Wi-Fi services in senior housing communities.

• $7 million to extend the Integrated Wellness in Supportive Housing (IWISH) program for one year.

• $300 million to expand service coordination.