Here are some resources to help you find different types of housing.
Mass Access: The Accessible Housing Registry
helps people find affordable housing in Massachusetts. A key feature of the registry is to highlight homes for people with disabilities who need accessible or barrier-free housing. Massachusetts law states they must list available housing for thirty days before listed to public. To access the database, call your local Independent Living Center or visit this website.
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Adaptive Housing Program
MRC’s Adaptive Housing Program’s goal is to provide accessible housing to individuals with disabilities in their primary, permanent residence to enhance their ability to participate in vocational services, and to return to work. The Adaptive Housing Program provides architectural modifications to the private residences of individuals and related equipment installation to remove impairment related barriers to occupancy by the individual. Examples of modifications that may be eligible under this program are wheelchair access via lifts, ramps, door widening, or bathroom modifications such as roll in showers or grab bars.
Any individual who has a physical or mental impairment which constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment. The individual must require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in or retain work and the individual can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. The maximum dollar limit about is $15,000. However the Commission may approve expenditure of more than $15,000 limit for adaptive housing services when exceptional circumstances warrant a waiver. Financial participation is based on annual income and cash assets. For more information, please contact Eugene Blumkin at 617-204-3721 or Eugene.Blumkin@MRC.state.ma.us
If you are low-income, you are eligible to apply for rental assistance. There are local, state, and federal sources of rental assistance, also known as subsidized housing.
Project-based subsidized housing
is permanent, multi-family housing for people who have low-income and/or disabilities, or who are elders; you pay 30% of your income toward your rent, with the government paying the balance. To get a list of subsidized housing throughout Massachusetts, contact The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) at One Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108-3110 or TEL: 617.854.1000 | FAX: 617.854.1029 | RELAY: 7-1-1 | VIDEOPHONE: 857.366.4157
A mobile Section 8 voucher also allows you to pay 30% of your income towards the rent, but you can use a voucher for any apartment in the U.S. as long as it passes inspection and is within rental limits for the program. It is usually not easy to get a section 8 voucher — generally only a few housing authorities are accepting applications at any one time, and there are often waiting lists once you apply. However, with luck and perseverance you can relieve a considerable financial burden. You may apply to as many housing authorities as you wish; you do not have to apply just in your city/town. To apply, start calling housing authorities in your area. For further information on finding affordable housing, rental assistance, or a list of Massachusetts Housing Authorities, call your local Independent Living Center (ILC). Fin.d your local ILC
Persons interested in Section 8 vouchers are advised to put their name on a centralized waiting list as soon as possible. Seventy two Massachusetts housing authorities utilize this one computerized list; all applicant information entered onto this list can be accessed and updated by any and all participating housing authorities. Call 877-868-0040.
Section 8 Made Simple – Using the Housing Choice Voucher Program to Assist People With Disabilities
Comprehensive Guide written by Ann O’Hara and Emily Cooper of Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. with funding from the Melville Charitable Trust. This guidebook contains practical information to assist people with disabilities and the entire disability community to navigate through the Section 8 program more successfully.
Massachusetts Housing Education Centers
Housing Consumer Education Centers offer answers to a wide range of questions about all types of housing problems. Tenants, landlords, prospective buyers, and homeowners can access information designed to maximize housing stability, strengthen investments, and minimize disputes.
Call 800-224-5124 or scroll down Housing Consumer Education Centers home page to map to find a center near you.
CHAPA Housing Search Guide 2014 (pdf)
This 23 page guide provides information about searching for rental housing in Massachusetts for people who have one or more disabilities. Most of the information is also helpful to people who are low-income.
Supportive Housing for Adult Children with Disabilities
Autism Housing Pathways
provides information, support and resources for families who seek to create secure, supported housing for their adult children with disabilities. Autism Housing Pathways will support families in forming a variety of housing models by providing a clearinghouse of information on such topics as cooperative bylaws, building plans for modular housing that conforms to legal criteria, real estate trusts, and affordable housing options. AHP shares information about housing groups, developers, lawyers, vendors and consultants that can assist families in creating housing. Autism Housing Pathways is the Massachusetts affiliate of Foundation for Autism Support and Training (FAST). Contact: http://autismhousingpathways.org/contact/
Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) Housing Connections is designed to help families communicate with other families with similar interests to find or create a home for their loved one with a disability.
Established in January 2013, MFOFC Housing Connections is the first of its kind offered in New England. It is our hope that this tool will serve as a key that opens doors of opportunity to help create an enriching life for the individual. A life that is filled with valued friendships, real relationships, meaningful employment, community participation and the ideal living situation to call HOME.
Housing for People with Mental Illness
The Wellmet Project is a unique program that operates group homes for people with mental illness. Wellmet is a charity whose purpose is to not only meet the basic needs of each individual, but to encourage growth, independence and self sufficiency. Much of the operation of the homes is determined by the residents in a weekly house meeting, and our use of live in staff provide a cost-effective means to offer support services.
Wellmet is a transitional housing program, with a length of stay ranging from 6 months to 5 years. Our residents have a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses, but they share the common need for support, companionship, respect, and a commitment to recovery.
The Wellmet Project
675 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Call your local Independent Living Center to find out about housing workshops offered. Independent Living Center philosophy is self-advocacy.
The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA)
offers a range of home ownership programs — for buying or fixing up a home — to people of low to moderate income, people with disabilities, and first-time home owners. MHFA programs include low-interest (below market rate) mortgages, home buyer counseling, home improvement loans, lead-removal financing, and septic repair loans. TEL: 617.854.1000 | FAX: 617.854.1029 | RELAY: 7-1-1 | VIDEOPHONE: 857.366.4157
A guide to housing and mortgages for people with disabilities. Find information regarding financial help and assistance for the disabled and their families.
Housing Publication Links
Unlocking the Door to Community Living
This publication of Jewish Family and Children’s Service is a comprehensive approach to transitioning to adulthood.
Housing is treated as one subject among many, including support services and social networking.
Groups working on housing and adult living
Fact Sheet last updated on: 5/09/2018