In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it would award nearly $25 million to help fund housing for people with disabilities.
Roughly 100 public housing authorities across the country will receive funding. The HUD estimates that this will result in providing affordable housing to more than 2,000 additional qualifying families with nonelderly disabled loved ones.
In the news release announcing the award, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge called the funding “an important step forward.” It will, she said, “help more persons with disabilities serve as fully integrated members of their communities and allow them to live independently and with dignity.”
Challenges Facing Disabled Adults Seeking Housing
As rental increases have endured nationwide, people with disabilities who have limited income are especially vulnerable when it comes to securing affordable housing. This is aggravated by the fact that federal disability payouts have not kept pace with these rising rent prices, a September 2022 NPR story reported.
In addition, individuals across the disability community often face discrimination when seeking housing options.
“Too often, people with disabilities are denied reasonable accommodation or forced to pay extra fees to rent housing,” Fudge wrote in a separate opinion piece for CNN on the Fair Housing Act.
As mentioned, even with such federal disability benefits as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), covering the cost of housing can be a challenge.
The federal government offers support designed for people with disabilities seeking affordable housing of their choice.
For example, nonelderly individuals with disabilities or their families may qualify for the Mainstream Voucher Program, which provides financial support in paying rent each month. This is the program that is benefiting from the $25 million award.
Disabled individuals aged 18 to 61 are among those who may benefit from this federally funded housing assistance program. Other criteria must be met as well.
Unfortunately, housing choice vouchers are not only in high demand, but the application process also can take time. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, investigate this option as early as possible.
Another example is the federal government’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. This program likewise seeks to give people with disabilities the opportunity to live independently within their community.
Households applying for this program must have at least one adult family member with a disability and must have very limited income.
The HUD website houses a dedicated portal with detailed information on Section 811.
Your state may also offer other housing assistance programs for people with disabilities. Be sure to check your state for organizations that may benefit you.
How Do I Apply for Disability Housing Assistance?
Application processes differ by type of disability housing assistance program. If you believe you may qualify for a voucher program, contact your local public housing agency. The agency will gather information from you regarding your assets, family income, and other details as part of the application process.
If your family qualifies, the agency will put you on a waiting list before providing you with a housing voucher. The wait for housing may vary depending on where you live, but long waiting periods do tend to be the norm. Certain applicants may get preference – such as a family who has been involuntarily displaced.
You can search by state for a public housing agency near you on the HUD website.
For a program like the Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, HUD announces the availability of funding each year and invites applications directly from nonprofit organizations at that time.
Consult With a Professional
As you seek the best solution for your loved one’s housing, work with your attorney. Navigating the criteria for different federal and state housing assistance programs can be complex and may vary by state in some cases.