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The Congregate Housing Services Act of 1978 (Title IV of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1978 (P.L. 95-557, 42 USC. 8001) authorized HUD to enter into three to five-year grants/contracts with eligible Public Housing Agencies and Section 202 borrowers to provide meals and other supportive services to eligible project residents. The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) was among the first initiatives developed by the Federal Government to provide a comprehensive housing and supportive services package within a subsidized housing environment. In the first year of funding, 1979, HUD awarded $10 million to 28 grant recipients.

Eligible CHSP services are those which assist the frail elderly, non-elderly people with disabilities, and temporarily disabled individuals to live independently and prevent premature or unnecessary Institutionalization. These services may include service coordination, hot meals served in a congregate setting, personal assistance, housekeeping, transportation, preventative health/wellness programs, and personal emergency response systems. Grantees work with Professional Assessment Committees (PACs), whose members evaluate resident needs and recommend appropriate services.

Over the last 30 years, CHSP funds have enabled tens of thousands of low-income elderly individuals and people with disabilities to enjoy a quality of life and achieve a degree of independence that would otherwise not have been possible. Today, 51 public housing agencies and private assisted housing owners administer 63 grants, having been in operation from 13 to 29 years. Each year Congress appropriates new funds to extend existing programs - assuring that the frail elderly and people with disabilities can count on continuation of the valuable services they receive.

It's been a rocky road, though. The CHSP was conceived as a demonstration program and funds were appropriated and awarded in 1979 and in the early 1980s. Annual funding amounts supported these grants beyond their initial grant terms.

After a decade of successful program operation, Congress revised the CHSP, making it a categorical grant program and mandating several additional program requirements through Section 802 of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, (P.L. 101-625, 42 USC. 8011), as amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-550, 42 USC 1437). Among the changes to the program were a 50 percent match from the grantee; participant fees that equal at least 10% of the total program cost; eligibility of Rural Housing Service (RHS) and HUD assisted housing projects serving the elderly and disabled; a "joint" program administration with RHS, and a regulation (24 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 700 for HUD projects and 7 CFR 1944 for RHS projects). New grants were awarded under this revised program in 1993 and 1994. Although the program originally received an appropriation in 1995, all of HUD's funds were rescinded before awards were made and only one grant was made that year to one RHS project./p>

After 1995, competing needs and a feeling that HUD should provide housing and not services resulted in no further funding for new grants. Over the last 12 years, as throughout the history of the CHSP, Congress has recognized the benefit of the currently operating programs and has kept them going with annual extension funding.

In the 1990s, 92 grantee organizations were operating programs and an evaluation study of the program highlighted program successes and the benefits to both participants and the Federal government. But the additional requirements created in 1990; wavering interest in the program and changes in available state and local government funds for such services have taken a toll over time.

The existing grantees have demonstrated their commitment to their residents and have recognized the ongoing value of the program. They have continued through changes in funding amounts and uncertainty in the future availability of grant funds. They have developed strong working relationships with state and local government agencies and community-based organizations that contribute matching resources. They have formed lasting bonds with their residents who truly appreciate the quality of life that they enjoy.

So it is with high regard and many thanks that HUD congratulates the existing CHSP programs and looks forward to working together with these grantees in the future!

HUD asked grantees to voluntarily send in a description of their program along with photos. Please read the accounts that follow. Contact information is provided for each grantee organization and you may contact them to inquire about the availability of housing and CHSP services. Keep in mind, however, that these housing organizations may have long waiting lists for available units and CHSP services.

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