1.) How is congregate housing defined and is it a qualified setting for the MFP Demonstration?

Each congregate housing unit is set up differently with different requirements and may allow for a different numbers of residents in each unit. There are some questions you should ask the housing provider to determine if a specific congregate housing unit meets the requirements to be a qualified residence.

Congregate Housing is a shared living environment designed to integrate the housing and services needs of elders and younger disabled individuals. The goal of Congregate Housing is to increase self-sufficiency through the provision of supportive services in a residential setting. Congregate Housing is neither a nursing home nor a medical care facility. It does not offer 24-hour care and supervision. Services are made available to aid residents in managing Activities of Daily Living in a supportive, but not custodial environment. Each resident has a private bedroom, but shares one or more of the following: kitchen facilities, dining facilities, and/or bathing facilities. Throughout the state there are many variations in size and design.

For more information on Congregate Housing please visit the Executive Office of Elder Affairs “Congregate Housing” web page.

2.) Who is eligible for congregate housing?

Eligibility for the congregate housing program requires a person to apply to the local housing authority, be at least 60 years of age or disabled, and meet the financial eligibility guidelines of the state 667 public housing program. To be eligible, applicants must also:

  • Be capable of independent living and not require constant supervision to carry out activities of daily living.
  • Be medically stable, oriented to person, place, and time, capable of independent decision making, and willing and able to follow through with any medical plan established with their physician.
  • Not exhibit behaviors which would be a disturbance to or infringement on the rights of other congregate housing residents.
  • If an individual is not capable of meeting the above criteria independently, but through service provision (PCA, homemaker, home health aide, etc.), these criteria are met, and the individual may be appropriate.

For more information on Congregate Housing please visit the Executive Office of Elder Affairs “Congregate Housing” web page.

3.) Is congregate housing considered a qualified residence on the Money Follows the Person Demonstration?

Qualified residences must meet the following criteria:

  • No more than 4 unrelated individuals live in the unit.
  • The unit must have locking entrance/egress, and each person has control over their living, sleeping, bathing, and cooking space. Participants should have the option of having a lock on their bedroom door.
  • Must have a lease.

4.) Are there 4 or fewer residents in each congregate housing unit?

If the congregate housing has more than 4 residents sharing a single bathroom and/or kitchen, the housing is not a qualified residence. Many congregate housing units have half bathrooms inside the resident’s room with shared bathing space; if this is the case, the unit must have 4 or fewer unrelated individuals to be a qualified residence.

However, some congregate housing is a grouping of rooms which each have their own living space, full bathroom (including bathing space such as a bathtub or shower) and a cooking space within each unit. This arrangement would be similar to a studio apartment. If this is the case, each unit within the congregate housing may be a qualified residence, if the setting meets the additional requirements below.

5.) Are services required as a condition of tenancy?

If services are required as a condition of tenancy, this is not a qualified residence. Additionally, if services must be provided by a specific service provider as specified by the housing provider, this housing wouldn’t be a qualified residence. 

The following clauses may not be a part of the lease:

  • A clause which requires services be provided.
  • A clause which requires that  services are provided by a specific provider.

6.) Are there required activities?

If a resident is required to participate in activities as a condition of tenancy, this is not a qualified residence.

7.) Is there a curfew or any other requirements which limit a resident’s access to the unit? Does the lease require the participant to give notice of absence from the unit?

If there is a curfew or other limit on a resident’s access to a unit, this would not meet the requirements of a qualified residence. Similarly, the lease or housing provider policies cannot require the participant to give notice for any absence from the unit.

If the lease or policies place any other restrictions on the participant, or if you have other questions, please contact Courtenay Loiselle at Courtenay.Loiselle@state.ma.us for additional assistance in determining if the residence meets the criteria as a Qualified Residence for the MFP Demonstration.

This information is provided by MassHealth.