Sample Essay on Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA)

Housing for the Elderly Persons

Introduction

The Housing for Older Persons Acts (HOPA) of 1995 protects residential properties in which 80 percent of the families are 55 years of age or even older. It exempts these families and individuals from the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition, promoting equality of the family status. Alternatively, this rule guides against house discriminations to persons above the age of 55. According to Section 807 (b) (C) of HOPA, “(C) voluntary reoccupation of the inhabitant initiated for a person in the age of 55, and conditions (i) with 80 percent of the facility community unity been occupied by persons aged at least 55 years[1]; (ii) the management for every housing unit must pledge compliance with the housing policies by printing that information to the surrounding community and (iii) the housing management must adhere to the rules given by the Secretary who verifies the occupations of the housing unit, and also shall (I) the housing secretary verify the suitability of the housing units through surveys and affidavit[2]; and (II) include cases of applicability of the policies and housing procedures that are appropriate to resolve the  conformity of a given clause with the specific issue (ii) therefore, the surveys and affidavits shall be tolerable with the legal provisions for the sake of verifications of documents and related certificates.[3]

The transition period under HOPA was intended to provide mean of improving the housing facilities for older persons. This period allowed the families that did not attain the necessary HOPA provisions to vacate their original homes to acquire 80 percent of the units occupied by the persons from the 55 and above. If the housing unit proved suitable for housing older persons through the age verification procedures, it could retain all the credentials for a housing unit whose 80 percent occupancy begins with a single person under the age threshold of 55.  Despite the desire of an eligible family to occupy the available housing unit, its admissions could be nullified from admitting their families. By the end of the transition period, reservation for unoccupied units was uncertain particularly when there could be aspects of discrimination against families with the elderly persons.

HOPA demonstrates two approaches to establishing housing for seniors in the society after the transition period: the conversion and new construction approach. The conversion plan shows that the existing community can convert to the housing of the elderly persons if a single person would contribute towards meeting 80 percent limit. Unlike the approach applied in the transition period, the HOPA statute cannot separate families with siblings with the purpose of gaining the 80 percent occupancy[4].

Alternatively, the housing unit cannot reserve unoccupied units for persons above 55, print itself in the media as occupancy available for the old persons, or evict people with the children from living in certain areas to achieve the 80 percent threshold. Moreover, the facility should make the new family feel welcomed to occupy the vacated facility without any discriminative elements. On the other hand, the facility community may give positive incentives that could necessitate the old family or the new family into moving out, ready for an occupation unit of its preference. Again, the facility community is not entitled for publishing such rules to invite the potential applicants to join.

Another approach of establishing housing for the older persons is through constructing occupation units that meet the HOPA thresholds. This statute indicates that the housing facility must appear in publication so that the interested persons may be compelled to occupy the shelters. Adhering to these policies indicates the intents to provide suitable housings per the rules issued by the Secretary for the verification occupancy[5]. The newly established housing consist facilities that were vacant within the 90 days of construction. Again, these housings are deemed to discriminate to reoccupation of the facility until 25 percent of the available units have residents. In case facility community does not have occupant within a specific time, then discrimination against families with children is avoided.

The Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA)

With the development of the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) of 1995, several amendments were incurred to check the age limit of 55. Initially, this statute stated that the 55 years limit was linearly designed to help the elderly persons in the society. Still, HOPA demonstrated elements of good faith by stating that the applying the 55 years exemption could improve the lifestyles for the elderly rather than building an obstacle to occupation by the people below the above age. Again, by failing to show that the unit was not eligible for exclusions, HOPA formalized the credibility for the facility community.

HOPA maintains that the shelters available must have at least one person aged 55 or older, therefore, guaranteeing the occupation potentials of above 80 percent. Moreover, this regulation emphasizes the need for publishing the occupations terms to prepare persons in the 55 years or older how to live, coping with the environmental modifications and survive in the hard times. According to Fair Housing Act, an excluded property does not have to separate families from their children. Apparently, the units must possess the full requirements necessary to be fledged as legitimate for human occupancy.

With the emergence of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), all the occupation sites that have not met the criteria will be abandoned and officially closed until they attain the full measure to support human living. Like many affordable housing lenders, HUD requires that the units built with its funds be restricted to affordable housing uses for a certain period of time[6]. These requirements are embodied in the mandatory Declaration of Restrictive Covenants signed by the owner, HUD, and the PHA and recorded in the local land records. This Declarations of Restrictive Covenants governs the real property and the operation of the public housing units in the following manner:

  1. Nature of the Use Restriction.

While the use restrictions are in effect, any owner of the property must operate the public housing units in compliance with the PHA’s Annual Contribution Contract (ACC) with HUD, that is, the owner must follow all laws and regulations applicable to public housing for those units constructed and operated with public housing funds. Moreover, the owner must acquire HUD approval prior to encumbering or disposing of the real property, the improvements, or the fixtures (except through routine leases to resident) or before demolishing any of the public housing units. Still, HUD retains the right to require conveyance of title or possession of public housing units in the event of a substantial default under the ACC. These restrictions must be superior to all the other liens.

  1. Length of the Use Restriction.

Where capital funds are used, the use restrictions last for a minimum of 40 years, beginning when the project becomes available for occupancy. The use restriction also lasts for ten years beyond the last date that the public housing units receive operating funds. Thus, if a PHA creates finances for establishing public housing units, then provides subsidy to support operation of those units for the entire 40 year period, but stops after 40 years, the use restriction would be effective for a total of 50 years, unless waived by HUD[7].

Disposition of public Housing Property to Private Owners

An essential element of mixed-finance is that the new public housing units are owned by private parties. PHAs must acquire HUD approval before transferring public housing property by deed or long-term ground lease to those private owners. To meet site-control requirements related to tax credits, the transfer sometimes must take place well before the process of negotiating the deal is fulfilled.

Generally, a PHA must submit an application and obtain HUD approval before disposing of any public housing of any public housing properties via either conveyance or a long-term ground lease. The application must be developed in consultation with residents and the local government; meet environmental and historic preservation laws; include certifications, among others, that statutory relocation requirements of dispersed of displaced residents are met and that the PHA’s Annual Plan authorizes the disposition; and demonstrate that the project has been offered to resident organizations for purchase[8]. Again, if a project is covered by any bonds, the PHA should determine the outstanding amount of the bonds and the best timing for repayment or availability of debt forgiveness; however, if the best has not or cannot be forgiven, HUD will consider waiving the requirement that proceeds from the disposition be applied to repay the debt. Furthermore, environmental clearance under 24 C.F.R. Part 50 is required before the disposition or demolition of public housing.

HUD must also approve the demolition of any public housing units, which can be done via the same application and approval process as the disposition request. However, no application is required to demolish, within a five-year period, the lesser of five public housing units and 5 percent of the PHA’s inventory. Also, no demolition application is required if the demolition is part of an approved HOPE VI Revitalization Plan after October 21, 1998, although Hope VI Demolition Grant recipients must still submit demolition applications.

Examples of HUD-Related Programs for Specific Populations

President Clinton endorsed HOPA in 1955, revising the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to sustain housing specifically constructed to meet the needs of older adults. Housing that meets the FHA definition of housing for older adults is exempt for the law’s familial requirements. HUD also provides the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. The idea behind the development of this provision was to curb instances for housing closure, thus leading to confusions and discomfort among the senior persons in the society. On the other hand, HEARTH was critical in raising the rental costs particularly to those who could shift to assistance amended in different Assistance Clauses. Some of the evidential alterations include the establishment of Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program, an increase in prevention resources, and extension of the meaning of homelessness and chronic homelessness.

HEARTH Final Rule led to classification of the homeless based on the criteria below:

  • Families who are uncertain of the next sleeping unit due to lack of a regular shelter. This category is formed by people who take shelters in the emergency locations such as the police camps or the habilitation camps. Commonly, the victims assume the occupancy for a very short time, where food, health support and security are not guaranteed[9].
  • Individuals whose confidence in taking shelter at a given zone is limited to zero due to numerous risks.
  • When the federal statutes consider the unaccompanied youths as homeless due to their failure the meet the occupations paradigm[10].
  • Persons who escape the domestic torture and sexual afflictions or ever life conditions that have subsequent plights to the subjects. HEARTH contributes to the larger legislative efforts to minimize and end homelessness in communities across the nation. Specifically, efforts are currently targeting the runaway and homeless youth population.

Significant Occupancy Issues include the following:

  1. i) Waiting Lists.

The 1998 Reform Act empowered PHAs to use site-specific waiting lists, also known as site-based waiting lists (SBWLS), which choose residents for a specific site based on criteria tailored to the goals, income tiering, and legal requirements of that site. SBWLs allow for income tiering, which guarantees a mixed-income community. For instance, income tiering might require that 30 percent of the facility occupants have salaries that is in the margin of 30-60 area median income (AMI). SBWLs also allow for preferences based on employment status; for instance, some owners restrict admissions to families that have either a full-time wage earner or an equivalent, such as a person participating in certain self-sufficiency or training programs, or disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to work). Preferences established through a SBWL, of course, must not violate civil rights laws[11].

iii) Development for the Elderly.

In public housing, the term ‘elderly development’ has a counterintuitive definition. Many developments that are called ‘elderly’ are normally ‘mixed-population.’ It means that they are reserved for occupancy by both the elderly and the nonelderly disabled. This linguistic oddity is a holdover from the Act’s former definition of ‘elderly family’ to include single persons who are handicapped or disabled.

In order to operate a public housing development that is restricted to the layperson’s idea of elderly, PHA must develop a ‘designated housing plan’ that designates certain developments as elderly-only, responds to fair housing concerns, and illustrates that households to be displaced by a designation will be provided with adequate alternative housing. Since 1997, the designation process has been governed by successive PIH Notices that supersede the regulation at 24 C.F.R. part 945. Any proposal to develop a ‘senior village’ in a mixed-finance project requires a PHA to develop or update its designated housing plan, and to commit to frequent renewals over the long term.

If elderly public housing units are aso combined with non-public-housing units intended for occupancy by the elderly, the situation becomes more complex. The public housing designation approach generates an exemption from otherwise applicable provisions of the Fair Housing Act that prohibit discrimination based on age but does not cover non-public-housing units. Thus, any related non-public-housing units must fit within the exemptions provided by the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA). Because the eligibility analysis for HOPA is done at the project level, and because the two programs have slightly different resident eligibility criteria, it may be advisable for the project to have separate documentation for the public housing and non-public housing elderly unit, such as two sets of resident selection plans, building rules, marketing approaches, and waiting lists[12].

iii) Grievance Hearing

A resident of public housing has a right to a formal grievance hearing regarding the behaviours of the owner or failure to conform to the lease terms. As a result, a counteractive action should affect the tenant’s responsibilities, physical welfares and the status based on the ruling that could be agreed by the court of law. These requirements also apply to private owners of public housing, who must adopt a grievance procedure that complies with the Act and the implementing regulations (unless HUD specially approves any deviations). Private owners have developed several approaches to fulfilling this requirement. Some develop their own policies, other adopts the PHA’s policy virtually verbatim, and still others leave administration of the hearing to the PHA[13].

Housing Discriminations

Age-related discriminations in housing have traditionally been prevalent. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, nation origin, or handicap. Age is not an explicitly included protection. However, the Fair Housing Act impacts older persons in several ways. It forbids discriminations against families with children or related persons under the age of 18 but included an exemption from the familial status protection for Housing for Older Persons. To qualify for this exemption, the housing must be for persons above 62, or for persons above 55 who have ‘significant facilities and service’ designed for the elderly. The Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) of 1995 eliminates the requirement that housing for persons aged 55 and older have significant facilities and services designed for the elderly to qualify for the exemption.

The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 necessitates the importance of having the polling station accessible to the elderly. If there is no accessible polling place, an alternative method of ballot casting must be made available. The Act also requires that registration and voting aides be made.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 gives civil rights protection to those with disabilities. Recently, the US Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C. ex Zimring (Olmstead) held that states were prohibited from unnecessarily institutionalizing persons with disabilities[14]. The Olmstead case applies to the elderly as well as handicapped and provides protection from discrimination relating to residential medical care.

In addition to the well-publicized employment and housing discrimination, senior adults are also targeted for internet and investment scams, lack of accessibility, and marginalization in the society.

Conclusions

It is clear that this chapter spurs the spirited need at the local level to implement subject planning on the development and growth of the occupation facility for the aging community. The chapter takes two critical views: conversion of the existing occupations and the constructions of new occupation units. Again, 2000 Census data suggests that the 55 and over population is increasing tremendously in both developed and developing nations. This is an indication that there is growing urgency to begin planning for the future occupation units to accommodate the growing population. This process can be realized by deploying creative ideas that will challenge the existing occupations through decency, safety, comfort and security. The most obvious occurrence to incline the acquisition and implementation of these options is that everyone is aging. This stage is unchangeable regardless of the race, religion, gender and socioeconomic status. Eventually, planning for the aging community is a necessity to the elderly, their siblings, relatives and the general society.

Bibliography

Dwivedi, Rishi Muni. 2007. Urban Development and Housing In India, 1947 To 2007. New Delhi: New Century Publications.

Lucier, Thomas J. 2006. The no-nonsense real estate investor’s kit how you can double your income by investing in real estate on a part-time basis. Hoboken, NJ.: John Wiley. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=290439.

Salkin, Patricia E. 2004. Current trends and practical strategies in land use law and zoning. Chicago, Ill: American Bar Association, Section on State and Local Government Law.

Sproul, Curtis C., Mary M. Howell, Katharine N. Rosenberry, and Ann H. Davis. 2014. Advising California common interest communities.

Vanhorenbeck, Susan. 1995. Housing for Older Persons Act Of 1995. [Washington, D.C.]: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

[1] Dwivedi, Rishi Muni. 2007. Urban Development And Housing In India, 1947 To 2007. New Delhi: New Century Publications

[2] Salkin, Patricia E. 2004. Current trends and practical strategies in land use law and zoning. Chicago, Ill: American Bar Association, Section on State and Local Government Law.

[3] Vanhorenbeck, Susan. 1995. Housing For Older Persons Act Of 1995. [Washington, D.C.]: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

 

[4] Sproul, Curtis C., Mary M. Howell, Katharine N. Rosenberry, and Ann H. Davis. 2014. Advising California common interest communities

[5] Vanhorenbeck, Susan. 1995. Housing For Older Persons Act Of 1995. [Washington, D.C.]: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

[6] Sproul, Curtis C., Mary M. Howell, Katharine N. Rosenberry, and Ann H. Davis. 2014. Advising California common interest communities

[7] Salkin, Patricia E. 2004. Current trends and practical strategies in land use law and zoning. Chicago, Ill: American Bar Association, Section on State and Local Government Law

[8] Lucier, Thomas J. 2006. The no-nonsense real estate investor’s kit how you can double your income by investing in real estate on a part-time basis. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley

[9] Vanhorenbeck, Susan. 1995. Housing For Older Persons Act Of 1995. [Washington, D.C.]: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

[10] Sproul, Curtis C., Mary M. Howell, Katharine N. Rosenberry, and Ann H. Davis. 2014. Advising California common interest communities

[11] Dwivedi, Rishi Muni. 2007. Urban Development And Housing In India, 1947 To 2007. New Delhi: New Century Publications.

[12] Dwivedi, Rishi Muni. 2007. Urban Development And Housing In India, 1947 To 2007. New Delhi: New Century Publications.

[13] Lucier, Thomas J. 2006. The no-nonsense real estate investor’s kit how you can double your income by investing in real estate on a part-time basis. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley

[14] Lucier, Thomas J. 2006. The no-nonsense real estate investor’s kit how you can double your income by investing in real estate on a part-time basis. Hoboken, NJ.: John Wiley