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HUD Issues Memo Clarifying Emergency Call System Policy

For many years LeadingAge has had several conversations with a variety of HUD Washington staff and raised questions and concerns regarding obsolete pull cord systems in senior housing properties, and the need for owners to be able to respond to residents using new technologies. Earlier conversations with HUD included the outdated language in current regulations and issues that have continued to arise as part of REAC systems inspections.

In response in part to LeadingAge advocacy, a new memorandum has been posted on the HQ Housing webpage under the “What’s New” column that clarifies HUD Multifamily policy related to emergency call systems in elderly properties, describing the functional requirements of an emergency call system and explaining how those functional requirements can be met using a variety of manual, electronic and wireless emergency alert systems.

This memo articulates how guidance is dated and was developed prior to the existence of many of today's electronic systems, and can and should be construed broadly to include both wired and wireless or electronic systems. The memo enables owners to remove and replace existing pull cord systems with a wireless or electronic system as long as the new system is economical and meets the functional requirements described and allows for use of mobile personal emergency response devices.

To view the memo, click here.

The notice applies to all elderly housing properties – including Section 202, Section 202/8, and 202 PRAC – and others that rely on the minimum property standards as directive to include emergency call systems in part of their structure.

Contact: Ken Harris, kharris@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8835