A Compendium of Current Federal Initiatives in Response to the Olmstead Decision. OLMSTEAD RELATED INITIATIVES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT


Funding Organization:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Implementing Organization:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)


To increase opportunities for persons with severe disabilities to live independently in community settings by providing rental and homeownership subsidies directly to individuals needing housing assistance.


In June 2001, HUD announced two new pilot programs in response to the President's Executive Order implementing the Olmstead Supreme Court decision. The two programs are: (1) Project Access; and (2) the Homeownership Voucher Pilot Program for Disabled Families. HUD's action will help states and communities meet the goals of the 1999 Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. The high court ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, states must provide programs and services to persons with disabilities in community settings if doctors or other treatment professionals conclude it is appropriate and can be reasonably accommodated.


In Project Access, an eleven state pilot program, HUD will distribute 400 new housing vouchers to assist disabled individuals. Project Access, will be launched in the following states: Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington. HUD expects the first vouchers to be distributed within the next three months.

In the past year, HUD has distributed more than 13,000 Section 8 vouchers to housing authorities specifically for persons with disabilities. These vouchers will also further the goals of the Olmstead decision.

The Homeownership Voucher Pilot Program for Disabled Families will allow disabled families with incomes up to 99 percent of the area median to use Section 8 vouchers, previously used only for renting, to purchase a modest home without paying more than 30 percent of their income for homeownership expenses.

The nation's 2,500 public housing agencies that participate in the Section 8 program will oversee the homeownership pilot program, determining eligibility and enforcing the rules. To participate in the program, families must be eligible for a Section 8 voucher and be disabled under the terms as defined by law.

A family must have an annual household income of at least $10,000 and must not be a current homeowner to be considered for the program. Welfare income can be counted toward the minimum income requirement and there is no maximum term of homeownership assistance as with non-disabled families.

HUD is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement this program. While HUD is supplying the vouchers and technical assistance, HHS, through state Medicaid agencies, will use Nursing Home Transition Grants, Medicaid funds and other resources to better help voucher holders make the transition to community living arrangements.

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