Disability Housing Programs and Resources for Adults With Special Needs

Chelsy Meyer  | 

Because “disability” is such a broad term that can mean so many different things, there are many different needs that people with a disability may have. The needs of someone with a mental disability are much different than the needs of someone with a physical disability, for instance. For this reason, the housing assistance available to people with a disability varies as well. The programs can range from offering low-income housing, to offering living assistance. Whether you are the parents of an aging child looking for a long-term housing solution, or an adult with varying levels of independence seeking solutions and information, there are housing programs and resources to help.

Housing Grants and Assistance for People With Disabilities

These programs that assist people with housing are based on financial need for low-income individuals with a disability. Financial strain can be a large part of the difficulties that tend to coincide with a disability. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for disabled adults to find themselves in financial trouble tied to their living situation. In order to promote as much independence as possible for people living with a disability, these programs were created to help.

If you’re a disabled veteran, there are even more resources to help with a variety of different needs including housing.

Adult Day Care

Day programs are great for those with a disability to attend during the day. Whether their permanent home is at a facility or with family members, a day program is meant to offer structure and continued education. These programs can help adults work on life skills, socialization, and an opportunity to connect with their peers.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are similar but usually provide each person with their own apartment within a complex. Each apartment is like a studio with a bath, kitchen, and bed so that there is the option to have their own space and provide as much as they can for themselves. Assisted living facilities may have a dining area, be provided with basic medical care in their units, such as help with medications. Some also provide help with basic everyday needs such as bathing or dressing.

Community Homes and Supportive Living Facilities

Community Homes and Supportive Living Facilities are communal homes for disabled adults. These homes are intended to provide independence on each person’s own terms as well as support for any tasks that require assistance. Caregivers at these facilities provide a range of services including medical help, medication assistance, decision making, applying for jobs, a variety of therapeutic needs, and everyday needs, among others. There are group activities, meals, social opportunities, and a stress on finding each person’s level of independence.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Voucher Programs

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a few programs that were created just to help adults with disabilities and their families. These vouchers are for rent assistance for those with disabilities and work as a financial resource to aid in rent payment, deposits, or help in danger of eviction. Not only that, they also have a Homeownership Voucher Program to assist disabled and low-income individuals by subsidizing monthly mortgage payments through vouchers.

Emergency Housing for People With Disabilities

Emergency housing for people with disabilities can be helpful in extreme cases where eviction is eminent or homelessness has occurred or will occur. Emergency Solutions Grants are available to rapidly re-home someone in an extreme living situation. Shelter Plus Care is another HUD program to serve homeless individuals with disabilities. The Supportive Housing Program is another option for homeless individuals. For more information, seek out your local HUD office.

Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae provides housing finance for homebuyers and renters and has a mission to provide access to reliable, affordable mortgage financing in all markets at all times. Their HomeReady Mortgage Program makes it easier for borrowers with low income to buy a home.

Group Homes for Adults With Disabilities

Group homes for adults with disabilities are housing options for a different type of disabled adult. The resources mentioned above were mostly related to financial help for disabled adults and their family members seeking their own housing. However, there are also other housing resources that assist disabled adults in their daily living needs. For those who define independence on a different scale, such as those with intellectual, mental, or severe physical disabilities that require aid in everyday tasks, group home facilities are a great resource.

Find more information on the group homes for adults with disabilities in your area by contacting your local independent living center.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in working in local communities across all 50 states. To qualify, you must demonstrate a need for safe, affordable housing. What that means will vary by community. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Though an aspect of this program is building “sweat equity” in which you help build your own house and volunteer to build houses for others as well, those with a disability can still volunteer by attending homeownership classes or volunteering at a Habitat ReStore.

Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities are much more involved facilities for those with special needs or a severe disability that requires constant care. For many, these facilities can be the safest option for those who are disabled and require care that can’t be given to them at home.

Section 811 Housing

Section 8 housing is the federal government’s primary low-income housing program. It’s not specific to those with a disability, but is there as a tool to help low-income disabled adults. Section 811 housing is similar to Section 8, but is meant to be a resource specific to people with a disability who are also low-income. For adults with a disability, both resources are available to provide affordable housing. Find information on both Section 8 and Section 811 housing by contacting your local HUD office.

Social Security Disability Housing Assistance

The Social Security system will provide some support for those who are disabled and their families. For qualifying disabled individuals, they are given financial assistance with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a form of support for living expenses and basic needs. Many programs use the amount provided by SSI to decide on voucher amounts and assistance. However, there are no additional housing assistance through the Social Security system. Individuals and families receiving disability support should seek assistance through other federal and state programs.

State Agencies

There are many state agencies specific to each location that specialize in help for people who are disabled. Finding these agencies involves local resources that can provide a more comprehensive list of housing help in your area. Contacting your local independent living center is a great way to find information on any state agencies that may be of help.

For adults who are disabled and their families, there are a variety of different needs in terms of housing. For some, the need is financial. Unfortunately, since a disability tends to coincide with financial strain, finding affordable housing or financial help for housing can be difficult. For others, the need comes in terms of finding a facility to help them and their families with everyday care. Whether this is a day center or a long-term care center, it’s important to know what is available and what each person’s abilities require. There are many different types of disabilities and housing needs that go along with them.


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Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5

This post was updated May 23, 2018. It was originally published May 29, 2018.