HUD AND HHS TEAM UP TO PROVIDE PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING TO EXTREMELY LOW-INCOME PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN MASSACHUSETTS
Nearly $5.3 million in rental assistance to prevent homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization
BOSTON – In an effort to spare hundreds of Massachusetts residents with disabilities from homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields was today joined by Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Christie Hager to announce a $5.3 million award to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The Commonwealth will use this federal funding to offer rental assistance to 100 extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness. By working together, HUD and HHS are helping states like Massachusetts to offer permanent housing and critically needed supportive services to ensure these at-risk individuals find their place within the fabric of their community.
The HUD funding announced today is part of $98 million awarded nationwide to 13 state housing agencies for rental assistance to extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness. HUD’s support of these state agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo) which enables persons with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of median income to live in integrated mainstream settings. The state housing agencies are working closely with their state Medicaid and health and human service counterparts to identify, refer, and conduct outreach to persons with disabilities who require long-term services and supports to live independently.
“Two federal agencies are working together to solve common sense problems and offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “We’re helping states reduce health care costs, improving quality of life for persons with disabilities, and ending homelessness as we know it.”
“This funding will have a tremendous impact here in Massachusetts,” said HUD New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields. “We’re proud to be a partner in providing permanent supportive housing solutions to persons with disabilities here in the Commonwealth.”
Massachusetts’ Department of Housing and Community Development and its Executive Office of Health and Human Services (which oversees the state’s Medicaid Agency and the Office of Disability Policies and Programs) have worked together collaboratively on a number of highly effective service-enriched housing programs and will now be working together on the Section 811 PRA Demo program.
The target populations under the Section 811 PRA Demo are persons in institutions enrolling in the state’s Medicaid-funded Money Follows the Person demonstration program (MFP), persons in institutions who are not eligible for MFP but are eligible for one of the state’s home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers; and persons in institutions who are not eligible for either MFP or a waiver, but who are eligible for Medicaid State Plan services; and persons living in the community who are receiving services through a waiver. The proposed program is deliberately designed to be cross disability and will provide 100 units, serving a range of people with different disabilities and service needs. Projects will be located throughout the state, though 50 percent of the units are projected to be in the greater Boston area.
“Since the HHS-HUD Collaboration began in 2009, HHS has prioritized its support for the relationship between quality housing and the health and human services needed by our at-risk populations,” said Christie Hager, HHS Regional Director. “Today's announcement is another example of our shared goal to provide needed services in the community when appropriate and the critical importance of safe and stable housing to meet that goal.”
Today’s announcement reinforces the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires state and local governments to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
Authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010, HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program provides funding to states for project-based rental assistance to develop permanent affordable housing options in integrated settings for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Under the state health care/housing agency partnership, each state has in place a policy for referrals, tenant selection, and service delivery to ensure that this housing is targeted to those persons with disabilities most in need of deeply affordable supportive housing.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.govand http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Mailing List.