Increased "Section 202" funding good news for senior citizen housing

retirement cakeHappy New Year, senior citizens! 2010 should be a good year for you, thanks to an increase in funding for what is known as the Section 202 program. For the first time in six years, Congress approved a hike in the Section 202 program, which takes effect with the new year. It is a $60 million increase in fiscal 2010.

The Section 202 program, reports the Associated Press, "provides grants and rental help through nonprofit sponsors of low-income senior housing." Under the Section 202 program, a person usually pays no more than about 30 percent of their income on rent, according to the AP.

Even without an increase, last year saw an uptick of some 3,000 Section 202 units; more than that is likely in 2010 thanks to the increased funding.

And, there are other ways for seniors to get a helping housing hand courtesy of the federal government: Just one example; the Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program stands ready to help senior citizens pay their energy bills. Just like with the Section 202 program, the government is increasing (in this case, doubling) its funding of this energy program over the amount just two years ago. Again, pretty good news for seniors.

And, why is the government being so relatively generous? Simply because of the recognition that there are more and more elderly adults among us and, with many living on fixed incomes, they are the ones who often most need assistance to try to climb out from under this global economic mess.

Charles Feldman is a journalist,media consultant and co-author of the book, " No Time To Think--The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."

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