About Subsidized Housing in General
(Provincetown programs include 667, 705, Shelter Plus Care and we benefit from, but do not administer, several vouchers).
About Low-Income Housing Programs:
DHCD’s Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance has the responsibility for regulatory and administrative oversight of all state-aided public housing programs which address the needs of low-income families, elderly, and persons with disabilities.
DHCD’s low-income housing programs can be primarily organized into two categories—public housing units and vouchers.
Units are physical residences in mid and high-rise apartment buildings, two and three-story walk-ups, townhouses, multi-unit buildings, and single family homes that are owned and operated by LHAs.
State-aided Public Housing offers three programs:
Public Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities— Chapter 667;
Public Housing for Families—Chapters 200 and 705; and Public Housing for Special Needs—Chapters 167 and 689.
DHCD has four resident service programs to support tenants within some of these units:
Supportive Senior Housing;
LHA Transition Housing Program;
LHA Supported Housing Program; and MassLEAP.
Additionally, DHCD offers three voucher programs to provide an alternative form of state assistance. Those programs are:
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program;
Alternative Housing Voucher Program; and
Department of Mental Health Rental Subsidy Program.
About Public Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
Chapter 667, the elderly and handicapped housing program, provides housing for qualified low-income elderly and handicapped persons. The Chapter 667 program began in 1956 to house elderly residents. It was expanded to include persons with disabilities at the end of the 1960s. With over 30,000 units in this program, it represents roughly two-thirds of the state-aided public housing portfolio. The Chapter 667 portfolio is primarily made up of 2 and 3-story walk up apartment buildings and mid-rise buildings with elevators.
In 1995, the state Legislature amended c. 121B, §39 to require DHCD to implement a placement ratio in state-aided elderly/handicapped housing. The placement ratios were established to meet the public policy objective of achieving a population of 13.5% of non-elderly persons with disabilities households in the c. 667 program.
About Family Public Housing
The family state-aided public housing program provides housing for low-income families in neighborhoods throughout the state. There are two programs for family housing:
Chapter 200 (veteran and/or family housing); and
Chapter 705 (family housing).
The Chapter 200 program was first established in 1948 to provide housing for returning World War II veterans. Today it is primarily a program for any eligible family, though veterans are still eligible and retain preference for those units. There are a variety of building types in the Chapter 200 program including 3-4 story walk -ups, townhouses, apartment buildings and single family homes. The units typically range in size from 1 to 4 bedrooms. There are over 10,500 units in this program, representing about a quarter of state-aided public housing.
The Chapter 705 program is smaller with just under 3,000 units. While the 200 and 667 developments typically have ten to dozens to hundreds of adjoining units on one development, the 705 program is structured differently. These units are primarily one to three unit family homes and duplexes distributed throughout the community, rendering the term “scattered sites.”
Supportive Senior Housing
The Supportive Senior Housing program seeks to bring some of the benefits of assisted living developments to the residents of the state-aided housing for elderly and handicapped persons (c. 667 housing). Jointly developed by DHCD and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), 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 service to elders within their senior housing complexes.
LHA Transitional Housing Program
The LHA Transitional Housing Program (LHATHP) uses traditional state-aided public housing units as transitional housing sites for homeless households. Homeless families occupy these sites for a 12-18 month period in order to receive services to develop their self-sufficiency skills. This program model is unique in that once families graduate from the LHATHP, they are offered the opportunity to go under lease with the sponsoring LHA. This provides the long term housing stability these families need to avoid re-entry into the shelter system.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program
Vouchers, or rental subsidies, are designed to encourage and promote housing choice and mobility for all program participants.
The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), formerly known as the Chapter 707 Program, offers both tenant- and project- based rental subsidies. In both cases, a regional non-profit housing agency or an LHA administers the program locally. As of January 2014, there were eight regional non-profit housing agencies and 112 local housing authorities that administer MRVP throughout the Commonwealth to over 6,000 households.
The tenant-based voucher, which is known as a “mobile voucher,” is assigned to the participant and is valid for any housing unit that meets the standards of the state sanitary code. Mobile voucher holders carry that voucher with them in the event of a move.
“Project-based vouchers” are assigned to a specific housing unit or development. The owner rents these units to a program eligible tenant and when they move out, a new eligible tenant moves in.
Alternative Housing Voucher Program
Established in 1995, the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) provides vouchers for rental assistance to non-elderly handicapped persons of low-income who have been determined eligible and qualified for c. 667 elderly/handicapped housing. AHVP is administered locally by participating local housing agencies, either a local housing authority or a regional administering agency. DHCD’s Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance has responsibility for regulatory and administrative oversight of this program. As of November 2013, there were 23 LHAs that administered the AHVP program and approximately 400-500 vouchers.