Housing Authorities in Massachusetts

State of Housing in MassachusettsThe housing agencies of Massachusetts offer different types of public housing programs-some are specifically for seniors and people with disabilities, some are for families, some are funded by the federal government, and some by the state government.

Federal public housing

Federal public housing is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are two types of federally funded public housing – Family Housing and Housing for seniors and people with disabilities.

Family housing

Federally funded family public housing is open to families, single people, people of all ages, and people with disabilities who meet certain income guidelines. Apartments are usually in large developments. The number of bedrooms in an apartment is determined by the number and gender of people in your household. There are about 18,000 federal family public housing units in Massachusetts.

Housing for seniors and people with disabilities

Federally funded public housing for seniors and people with disabilities is available to households where the head of household orspouse is at least 62 years of age or has a disability and is income eligible. Apartments are usually studio or one-bedroom apartments, although there are a few two-bedroom apartments. There are about 15,000 federal elderly/disabled public housing apartments in Massachusetts.

State public housing

State public housing is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). ThisState of Housing in Massachusetts housing is open to people of all ages, including single people, people with disabilities, and families. It is usually located in large developments. It is also called "veterans housing" because the program was originally for veterans returning from World War II. The number of bedrooms in an apartment is determined by the number and gender of people in the household. This housing is open to people of all ages, including single people, people with disabilities, and families. Units are usually in smaller buildings scattered throughout a city or town. Many of these blend in with private market apartments. There are about 3,100 Chapter 705 family state public housing apartments in Massachusetts.

Housing for seniors and people with disabilities

State-funded public housing for seniors and people with disabilities is open to households where one member of the household is at least 60 years of age or has a disability and meets certain income guidelines. Apartments are usually studios and one-bedroom units, although there are a few two-bedroom apartments. There are approximately 32,250 Chapter 667 public housing apartments in this program throughout the state.

For state public housing, the person with a disability can be any member of the family and does not have to be the head of household or a spouse (as is the case in federal public housing). For this program, however, there is a limit as to the percentage of non-elderly people with disabilities who are allowed to rent. Under state law, no more than 13.5% of a housing authority's state-funded elderly and disabled apartments can be rented to non-elderly people with disabilities. Some places have been at this 13.5% cap for many years. In those communities, it is very difficult for non-elderly people with disabilities to get apartments in this type of housing.

Supportive Senior Housing Initiative

There are also 22 developments where the Supportive Senior Housing Initiative is established. This has created about 2,880 assisted living apartments. There are also about 900 units of congregate housing that combine services and housing.

Special needs housing

Chapter 689 housing is public housing for adults with special needs. Although the program was established to serveState of Housing in Massachusetts people with a wide variety of needs, the current focus is on creating group homes for adults with mental disabilities who are leaving facilities run by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Chapter 167 housing provides housing for people with chronic mental illnesses. There are approximately 1,890 Chapter 689 and Chapter 167 apartments in Massachusetts. Although housing authorities do not select tenants for these properties, they own the properties and contract with the DMH or Department of Developmental Services (DDS, formerly known as the Department of Mental Retardation ) to arrange tenant selection and to staff the housing.

Eligibility

Income limits for public housing and vouchers are set by the government. They change every year and are different in different parts of the state and for different sized families. Often, the income limits for a housing program appear right on the application itself. The best thing to do is to ask the housing agency or subsidized landlord what the income guidelines are for their programs.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HUD 12/11/2012
STATE: MASSACHUSETTS
-------------------- 2013 ADJUSTED HOME INCOME LIMITS --------------------
 PROGRAM1 Person2 Person3 Person4 Person5 Person6 Person7 Person8 Person
Barnstable Town, MA MSA
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
17200
28700
34440
45100
19650
32800
39360
51550
22100
36900
44280
58000
24550
40950
49140
64400
26550
44250
53100
69600
28500
47550
57060
74750
30450
50800
60960
79900
32450
54100
64920
85050
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
19850
33050
39660
47150
22650
37800
45360
53900
25500
42500
51000
60650
28300
47200
56640
67350
30600
51000
61200
72750
32850
54800
65760
78150
35100
58550
70260
83550
37400
62350
74820
88950
Brockton, MA HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
17550
29250
35100
45100
20050
33400
40080
51550
22550
37600
45120
58000
25050
41750
50100
64400
27100
45100
54120
69600
29100
48450
58140
74750
31100
51800
62160
79900
33100
55150
66180
85050
Lawrence, MA-NH HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
17900
29800
35760
45100
20450
34050
40860
51550
23000
38300
45960
58000
25550
42550
51060
64400
27600
46000
55200
69600
29650
49400
59280
74750
31700
52800
63360
79900
33750
56200
67440
85050
Lowell, MA HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
19050
31750
38100
45100
21800
36300
43560
51550
24500
40850
49020
58000
27200
45350
54420
64400
29400
49000
58800
69600
31600
52650
63180
74750
33750
56250
67500
79900
35950
59900
71880
85050
Pittsfield, MA HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
17200
28700
34440
45100
19650
32800
39360
51550
22100
36900
44280
58000
24550
40950
49140
64400
26550
44250
53100
69600
28500
47550
57060
74750
30450
50800
60960
79900
32450
54100
64920
85050
Berkshire County, MA (part) HUD Metro FMR Area
  30% LIMITS
VERY LOW INCOME
60% LIMITS
LOW INCOME
17200
28700
34440
45100
19650
32800
39360
51550
22100
36900
44280
58000
24550
40950
49140
64400
26550
44250
53100
69600
28500
47550
57060
74750
30450
50800
60960
79900
32450
54100
64920
85050

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for Massachusetts fell 0.1 percentage points in March 2013 to 6.4%. The state unemployment rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than the national rate for the month. The unemployment rate in Massachusetts peaked in October 2009 at 8.7% and is now 2.3 percentage points lower.

Unemployment RateMarch 2013Month/MonthYear/Year
National 7.6% -0.1 -0.6
Maryland 6.4% -0.1 -0.2

The need for affordable housing in Massachusetts is much greater than what is available. In recent years, these waiting lists have grown longer. Rising unemployment rates affects the waiting lists.If your family needs a 4-bedroom apartment, check to be sure that the housing authority where you are applying has 4-bedroom units and be prepared for a long wait for one to become available. You may qualify for more than one apartment size and may choose a smaller-size unit because apartments of that size will be available more quickly. Many housing agencies may have partially or completely stopped taking applications at certain times. Because the waiting lists are so long, it is important to:

  • Apply for as many different housing programs as you can.
  • See if you fit into any preferences or priorities so that you can improve your chances of getting to the top of the lists more quickly.
  • Request a written receipt for all applications you submit. They are your best proof that you have applied for a particular housing program and the date you applied.
  • Keep track of your applications and your place on all the waiting lists.
  • Notify all the places where you submitted applications of your new address if you move.
Attleboro Housing Authority Written by Super User 1409
Boston Housing Authority Written by Super User 1387
Brockton Housing Authority Written by Super User 1340
Cambridge Housing Authority Written by Super User 2164