61 million adults in the United States are disabled, meaning that 1 in 4 people in the US have some type of disability, such as a physical or developmental disability or chronic mental illness.
Unfortunately, many disabled people do not have affordable housing and are struggling because they don’t even know they qualify or simply don’t know of the different programs out there for people with disabilities.
Some have given up on trying to find a program that will help due to things such as discrimination and not finding handicap friendly properties.
*Most complaints about discrimination that are made to the HUD Fair Housing Enforcement Office are by people with disabilities and these complaints are taken very seriously.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination due to disability, sex, religion, race, color, national origin and familial status, so if you feel you have been discriminated for any of these reasons, make sure to report it.
Affordable Housing Options for People with Disabilities
There are many different types of housing assistance in the US and most of them include assistance for people with disabilities.
These programs can not only help you find an affordable and safe place to live but also improve your quality of life. We made a list of some of the programs and their details below, to help you find an option that best suits your needs.
- Section 8 – Also known as a Housing Choice Voucher, Section 8 provides individuals and families that have very low income with housing vouchers for affordable housing in privately owned properties, and in some cases, they also cover some utilities. Section 8 requires yearly inspections of the property and to review your case for continued eligibility. 1 in every 3 Section 8 households are headed by a non-elderly, disabled person.
- Public Housing – Public Housing communities are run by the city or county’s Public Housing Agency and provides safe rental housing for low-income families, people with disabilities and the elderly. Your income, family size and immigration status are all taken into account in Public housing. The Public Housing Authority usually does background checks to find out if you have been a good tenant in previous rental properties, so always try to leave units on good terms with the owners/landlords.
- Section 811 – Also known as the Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, Section 811 was created to provide disabled, low-income people with housing. Eligible families must have very low-income and at least 1 adult member must have a disability.
Disabilities include physical disabilities, chronic mental illness and developmental disabilities. Section 811 does not require citizenship, unless the property is required to follow other housing program requirements. If you have poor rental history, a criminal record or provide false information you may be denied or disqualified from the program.
- NED Vouchers – Non-elderly Disabled vouchers permit families to rent affordable, suitable and accessible private housing. Eligible families must have at least one non-elderly person (under 62 years) that is disabled to qualify. Some PHA’s receive extra funding for NED vouchers, so you may want to check those options first. To see a list of PHA’s that receive extra NED funding click HERE.
- Certain Development Vouchers – Certain development vouchers provide housing assistance to disabled families in developments or rentals that are exclusively for senior citizens. This option is for non-elderly, disabled families only. The PHA determines eligibility using the area’s median income, as with most HUD programs.
It’s the family’s responsibility to find a unit to rent that meets the PHA’s quality standards. If the monthly rent exceeds the amount you qualify for with the PHA, you have the option to pay the difference. Contact your local PHA for more detailed information on these vouchers, because each PHA has their own procedures and requirements.
“Disability accommodation” or “reasonable accommodation” are special requests you may make to the HUD or PHA, if you or a member of your household is disabled.
This option may help you find an affordable place to live that meets your needs or help you continue to live in the property you currently do, if you are content and your needs are being met.
It’s important to make these requests in writing and be sure to save any written responses you get in return. This may help you in case of any disputes along the way.
The most common disability accommodations requested are extended deadlines, extra bedrooms or larger bedrooms and higher housing vouchers. If you didn’t have a disability when you moved into your current unit, but develop one in time, you may request reasonable accommodations depending on your needs.