Government-funded housing should support people transitioning out of long-term care settings, guidance urges

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Housing providers using government funds should consider the needs of individuals transitioning out of nursing homes and other institutional settings, according to recently released guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since the Supreme Court's 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C., state and local governments have increased efforts to move disabled individuals from institutional settings to community-based settings that can still accommodate their needs. HUD issued the new guidance on June 4, which explains aspects of the Olmstead decision and provides information about the role HUD housing providers can play.

The Olmstead case involved two disabled women who were placed in institutional settings even though clinical assessments concluded they were suited for a community-based setting. The women sued for their right to live in the community setting, and the U.S. Supreme Court found in their favor. Similar cases, such as a large class action in Massachusetts, also resulted in initiatives to transition certain disabled residents out of institutional long-term care.

To support these efforts, housing providers can grant certain preferences to these transitioning individuals, according to the HUD guidance. The document specifies some of these allowable preferences, such as in awarding funds under a Section 811 Project Rental Assistance grant. The guidance also addresses how housing providers can assist in Olmstead-related initiatives while maintaining obligations under the Fair Housing Act.

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