Housing Resources for People with Disabilities

Links to information or support around housing topics

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) does not provide direct assistance for housing matters that are not related to disability civil rights.

MOD cannot provide assistance with:

  • finding housing,
  • tenant rights issues such as poor conditions and eviction,
  • resolving interpersonal disputes, or 
  • funding for home modifications.

MOD recognizes that these issues can be very challenging, so we want to direct people to the most relevant and helpful resources for these issues.

Table of Contents

Tenant rights (including eviction and state sanitary code)

All applicants/residents/tenants have certain rights under landlord-tenant law.

An applicant/resident/tenant with a disability does not have more or less rights under these laws because of their disability.

You can find basic information about tenant’s rights at the Office of the Attorney General, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and legal aid agencies (the Housing section of MassLegalHelp has useful information on many housing topics).

The Housing Court has a Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP), which is a homelessness prevention program for individuals facing an eviction as a result of behavior related to a disability.

If your question is about the state sanitary code, your recourse would be to contact your city/town’s Board of Health. 

Consumer issues

Consumer protection laws cover homeowners who engage with contractors to make home improvements such as accessibility modifications. If you have an issue with a contractor you have hired or worked with, file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

Housing search

A person with a disability who is searching for affordable housing uses the same resources as a person without a disability.

We recognize affordable housing is in short supply and often involves lengthy waiting lists. No organization can solve the housing shortage. Some organizations may offer advice or support on how you can find housing but it is unlikely they will find housing for you. We think the following are the best resources available on affordable housing options.

Where can I get help in finding housing?

Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCEC) are regional agencies that provide up-to-date information about affordable housing in Massachusetts. People looking for housing, tenants, landlords, prospective buyers, and homeowners can access information designed to maximize housing stability, strengthen investments, and minimize disputes. Find your regional Housing Consumer Education Center. Contacting your local HCEC helps you make sure you know about the programs and resources available that could help with your housing goals.

The Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) provides a useful Housing Search Guide for People with Disabilities in Massachusetts. Most of the information is also helpful to people who have low-income. 

I am a person with a disability and have a low income, what are my options for housing?

There are both state and federal programs that subsidize housing for people who have low income.  In most cases, recipients of housing subsidies pay 30% of their gross income towards rent and the government pays the remainder.  The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities' guide to housing assistance explains subsidized housing in more detail. It also provides contact information for local housing authorities.

Where do I apply for subsidized housing?

Housing subsidies can be project based or tenant based.

A project based subsidy is one that is tied to an apartment or a whole housing development.  A recipient moves in and has subsidized rent as long as they live there.  Local housing authorities and privately managed subsidized developments are examples of project based subsidies.  To apply for a project based subsidy you would submit an application to each local housing authority and/or privately managed development in which you are interested.  You may search privately subsidized managed developments through Mass Housing finance agency, or on the map provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (the tutorial can be helpful in understanding how to use the map features to search).

A tenant based subsidy or a “housing voucher” allows the recipient to have subsidized rent in the private market.  The subsidy/voucher belongs to the recipient which means that when they end a lease and move they can take the subsidy with them.   There are two large centralized lists for the federal Section 8 voucher:

A state issued housing voucher, Alternative Housing Voucher Program, is available to people with disabilities who are eligible for elderly/disabled housing but are not elderly.

How can I find housing that works for my disability?

When searching for housing you should be aware of how any physical or health conditions may impact you in using particular features in your home, with particular focus on the entrance and the bathroom.

The Accessible Housing Registry is a database that allows users to search for accessible features in market rate and subsidized housing including wheelchair accessible units, ground floor/elevator units, and units with roll-in showers.

Help with housing costs

See housing search for information on subsidized housing in the long term.

There are programs that financially help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Your local Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) can be a useful source of information on any local programs that may help with deposits or moving costs. Find your HCEC.

Low income families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may be eligible for short-term financial assistance through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. RAFT can provide up to $7,000 per household, within a 12-month period, to help preserve current housing or move to new housing. RAFT can cover utilities, moving costs, and overdue rent. 

Home modification funding resources

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission provides a useful listing of resources for funding to perform modifications to make a home more accessible to a person with a disability.

Last updated: July 25, 2023

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