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State Public Housing Programs

Public Housing Programs Administered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The public housing programs that server seniors, families and those with special needs are described below.  What may be helpful to you is this Local Housing Authority Unit Counts by Program Listing.


Elderly/Handicapped Low-Income Housing

The elderly/handicapped housing program (Chapter 667) provides housing for qualified low-income elderly and low-income non-elderly handicapped persons with one or more physical or mental impairment whose impairment has been over a long and continued duration, and who has been unable to locate appropriate suitable housing on the private market.

 Family Low-Income Housing

The family housing program (Chapter 200 and Chapter 705) is a state-funded program that aims to provide housing for low-income families in neighborhoods throughout the state.  A family household is one person, or two or more people who live or will live regularly in the unit as their primary residence; and whose income and resources are available to meet the household’s needs, are related either by blood, marriage, or operation of law, or who have otherwise evidenced a stable inter-dependent relationship.

Special Needs Housing

The Special Needs Housing programs (Chapter 689 and Chapter 167) are designed to provide housing with specialized services for persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities. To be considered for this housing program the person is referred to this housing program by the agency providing the service. 

This program provides living arrangements managed by the Department of Mental Health or Department of Developmental Services. While the LHA owns the building, it is leased to a residential services provider who supplies the service staff necessary to support and assist residents.

Residents are referred to a particular program by whichever Health and Human Services (HHS) agency based on the applicant's need and the services offered at each program. People with interest in residing in a shared house should contact the local area office of the Department of Mental Health or Department of Developmental Services. LHAs do not select residents for these programs, with the exception of Ch. 689 family housing where households need wheelchair accessibility. Interested households seeking these units must apply to the local housing authority and are eligible based on income qualification and need for accessible housing.

Supportive Senior Housing Initiative

The Supportive Senior Housing Initiative seeks to integrate the benefits of assisted living developments into state-aided public housing for elderly and handicapped persons.

Program Information

  • Jointly developed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the program seeks to help seniors maintain their independence and "age in place" by providing better access to supportive services such as case management, 24-hour on-site personal care staff, housekeeping, a daily meals program, medication reminders, transportation, shopping and laundry services to elders within their senior housing complexes.

How to apply

  • Persons, who are at least 60 years of age, who are interested in applying should contact the Local Housing Authority in their community of choice.
  • Currently the program is available to nearly 6,000 households living in state-aided elderly public housing developments in the following communities:
    • Amesbury
    • Arlington
    • Bernardston (Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority)
    • Billerica
    • Boston
    • Brockton
    • Cambridge
    • Chelmsford
    • Chelsea
    • Chicopee
    • Dartmouth
    • Everett
    • Fitchburg
    • Framingham
    • Gardner
    • Gill (Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority)
    • Gloucester
    • Greenfield
    • Leominster
    • Lynn
    • Malden
    • Marlborough
    • Melrose
    • Methuen
    • Needham
    • New Bedford
    • Northfield (Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority)
    • Peabody
    • Pittsfield
    • Plymouth
    • Quincy
    • Revere
    • Salem
    • Saugus
    • Sharon
    • Shelburne
    • Somerville
    • Spencer
    • Taunton
    • Watertown
    • Westfield

For More Information:

Please contact DHCD's Bureau of Housing Management at (617) 573-1150.