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Disabled rental assistance.

The federal government provides assistance for paying rent to the disabled. Public housing agencies (PHAs) accept and process applications for the Certain Development vouchers program. This can help qualified families pay the rent on an approved apartment. Another resource known as Designated Housing vouchers can help with rental expenses for disabled individuals who are not elderly.

Certain Developments Vouchers may assist clients with obtaining safe and affordable housing. The federal government funded program is offered nationwide in partnership with local municipalities as well as public housing agencies. The assistance is targeted at non-elderly families that have at least member who has some form of disability. In addition, the applicant can’t be currently receiving any other form of private or public housing assistance or financial aid. The voucher can only be used in certain, pre-approved apartments or developments where the owner meets program guidelines.

Some of the types of units or developments that can be paid for as part of the Certain Development Vouchers include some or all of the following. The program can help with paying the rent on state housing agencies section 8 projects, pre-approved and substantial rehabilitation projects, as well as section 8 new construction projects. So there are only certain types of homes or apartments that can qualify, and your PHA will have more details on this.

Any type of rental assistance is limited by funding levels and other program terms. Individuals and families that are considered to be non-elderly families and that also have a disabled member may qualify. Income restrictions are in place as well that also factor in the number of household members. They also need to be on some form of waiting list for a covered development.

Note the distinction there. The disabled person or their family does not need to be listed on the public housing agencies section 8 housing choice voucher waiting list. Even if they are not on that list they can still receive help from the Certain Development Program voucher rental assistance program.

There is some flexibility as well. Eligible participants can also include additional non-elderly disabled families that are currently residing in the community and who would qualify for an apartment or housing unit. However these families will still need to apply to the PHA and the housing choice voucher program. In this case they will need to have their names placed on the waitlist if there is one in place.




As with any government benefit or subsidy, there are income restrictions in place. Disabled applicants will need to prove this as well. The PHA you apply to will compare the families total household annual income with the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established low-income limits that are in place for that particular state or county. This is enforced and the family's gross income cannot exceed this limit in order to get rental assistance.

If and when you have been approved, the family needs to find an apartment to live in and that meets their needs, including those of the disabled member. If the family finds an apartment or home that meets the housing quality standards that are put into place by the government, if the rent is reasonable, and if the unit selected meets other requirements, then the local public housing authority will enter into a HAP contract with the landlord or property owner.

This agreement needs to occur before you move into the apartment. It will authorize the PHA to make rent payments on behalf of the family. The government issued voucher will only pay a portion of the rent for a family with a disability.

The Certain Developments Voucher will pay the landlord the difference between 30 percent of the total family income and what a fair market rent for the area is. PHA will determine this payment amount and what the standards are for that part of the country. The individual with a disability may decide to choose an apartment with a higher rent than the payment standard. However if they do this then they will be responsible for paying the owner the difference in the increased rate as the government will not cover that extra cost.

Another benefit of the program is that the family may select a housing unit anywhere in the United States. They are not even restricted to their own state. As long as a public housing authority administers a tenant based voucher program in that region, then rent assistance may be available for that disability.





Another very similar program is the Designated Housing vouchers. It will also enable non-elderly disabled families to receive help with their rent if occupancy were not restricted to elderly or senior citizens. The program can also help those families that have been affected by a public housing authority decision to designate their apartment buildings as a mixed elderly and disabled buildings but who still show a need for alternative resources. Applicants can even be admitted to the program as a special admission, so this means they do not need to be on any type of section 8 waiting list.

To learn more on these rental programs for the disabled, contact your local public housing authority, or PHA. If the applicant is not sure who the PSA is for their region, then the federal government has a customer support number of (800) 955-2232. These PHA organizations also tend to be very effective in providing information on other short and long term assistance programs for anyone with a mental or physical disability.

By Jon McNamara

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