Section 2: Suggested Steps for Applying for AAA Housing

DRC recommends following the steps below to seek and apply for AAA (Affordable, Accessible, Available) housing.

Step 1

Apply at all of the Local Housing Authorities within your search area for Elderly/Disabled Public Housing, or Family Public Housing if you need two or more bedrooms). Apply to as many Local Housing Authorities as you can. Each city or town in Massachusetts has its own Housing Authority. The North Shore/Cape Ann Local Housing Authority External Housing Referral resource list contains these resources in DRC’s service area.
Note: People with disabilities can request that applications be mailed to them or their support provider as a reasonable accommodation, and can also ask the housing authority personnel to assist in completing the paperwork (if application obtained in person).

Step 2

Apply for from privately owned properties subsidized through Mass Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The North Shore/Cape Ann Non-Housing Authority External Housing Referral resource list contains these resources in DRC’s service area. You may also explore housing information and resources for other areas in Massachusetts by visiting the websites for the housing agencies listed above via the links below:

MHFA #617-854-1000 or www.masshousing.com

HUD #617-565-5234 or www.hud.gov

DHCD #617-727-7130 or www.mass.gov/dhcd

Step 3

Apply for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV). A Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is a subsidy vouchers used to help persons with limited income pay rent in an apartment of their choice (within fair market rent limits). Persons using a HCV generally pay between 30 percent and 40 percent of their income for rent. The HCV pays the difference between the rent charged by the landlord and the tenant’s contribution to the rent. HCV users can continue using the HCV if they choose to move to another apartment. For more information and instructions on applying for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, see the Subsidy Voucher Resource list in this guide. Ways to find applications and apply for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher are as follows:

A. Apply for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher through the Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Centralized Waiting List. You can find a Pre-application as well as application instructions online at- http://massnahro.org/S8_Home.php.

B. Apply for the regional DHCD section 8 waiting list using a DHCD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Application. You can find this Application as well as application instructions online at- http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/eohed/dhcd/rental-applications-and-documentation.html

C. Apply for all “posted Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher openings”. When a Local Housing Authority opens its Section 8 waiting list, they will post a public notice in the local newspaper.

Step 4

Apply for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) that provides rental assistance to people with disabilities under age 60 who either live in, or are eligible to live in elderly/disabled state assisted public housing. For more information, see the Subsidy Voucher Resource list in this guide.

Step 5

Apply for Project Based Section 8 funded developments through regional non-profit housing agencies or through Local Housing Authorities (where available). The subsidy is attached to the apartment. More information about Project Based Section 8 can be found online at- http://www.mass.gov/hed/housing/rental-assistance/s8pbv.html

Step 6

Keep track of where you have applied, i.e. the name and location of the housing agency or apartment; the contact person (if any); the date you sent the application in the mail;
and to document any control numbers or denials you may receive. DRC suggests that you use the Housing Search Record in this guide. DRC also recommends that you keep a file with copies of the cover sheet of applications that you have submitted, and attach any confirmation or denial letters you receive from the housing authority or management company to those cover sheets. This will help keep your hard work organized. When it is appropriate to do, appeal any denial you receive. Document EVERYTHING!

Step 7

Respond to EVERY piece of housing correspondence in a timely fashion and keep copies of your responses. If you need more time to respond due to your disability or other reasons, immediately request extensions on deadlines.

Step 8

Work on clearing up or at least addressing any charges that may be listed in your Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) as well as any credit, substance abuse, tenancy problems or other behavioral issues now, as those issues may hinder eligibility or tenancy in the future.

Step 9

Once you receive notification that your name is approaching the top of the waiting list, gather updated documentation that is current (within 30 days) to prove eligibility. See Documentation Checklist For Housing in this guide.

Step 10

If you change your address after submitting an application to any housing provider, be sure to contact each that you have sent applications to and provide them with your new address change as soon as possible. If you don’t, the housing provider will remove your name from their Waiting list.

For more information about housing assistance in Massachusetts, see this state website describing How to Find Housing Assistance in Massachusetts.
© 2011 Disability Resource Center

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