Housing Solutions provides and administers rental assistance to approximately 2,200 households in Plymouth and Bristol counties through a contract with the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). These rental subsidies enable low-income households to secure decent rental housing by paying the difference between what a household or family is able to pay and the total housing costs.
Program participants find housing that meets program requirements on the private rental market, and Housing Solutions inspects those apartments prior to move-in and on a regular basis thereafter to assure they meet Housing Quality Standards. The owner, tenant and Housing Solutions enter into a contract that sets the total rent to the landlord as well as specifying the share of the rent for which the tenant and Housing Solutions are responsible.
Participants may choose housing anywhere in Housing Solutions’ service area. They can also select housing anywhere in the state through a network of regional agencies that contract with DHCD. Out-of-state transfers can also be arranged under some programs.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)
Federal Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8’s, comprise 1900 of the 2200 rental subsidies we administer. These mobile vouchers allow participants to find housing in the region or elsewhere. Apartments must meet health and safety standards, and the rent must be comparable to rents for similar apartments in the same neighborhood. The tenant’s share of the rent is based on their income. Housing Solutions pays directly to the landlord the difference between that tenant’s share and the agreed upon apartment rent.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
Housing Solutions also administers approximately 150 vouchers through the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP). Participants can use these tenant-based vouchers for any housing unit that meets the standards of the state sanitary code.
Project Based Vouchers
While most of Housing Solutions’ Section 8 and MRVP vouchers are tenant-based and allow tenants to find housing in the private rental market, we also administer Project-Based Section 8’s and MRVP’s. These are assigned to specific apartments or rental developments. The owner rents these units to a program-eligible tenant. When tenants of these units move, the subsidy stays with the apartment.
Housing Solutions administers smaller numbers of specialized rental subsidies. Our portfolio of vouchers is summarized below:
|Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
(Includes 74 Family Self Sufficiency units)
|Mod Rehab Sect. 8||63 units|
|Shelter Plus Care||13 units|
|Housing Opportunities for People w/AIDS||27 units|
|Family Unification Program||21 units|
|Mass. Rental Voucher Program||87 units|
|Dept. of Mental Health Voucher Program||25 units|
|Dept. of Mental Retardation Program||34 units|
|Independent Living Program||18 units|
For more information about these programs and the application process for each, call 781-422-4200.
Family Self Sufficiency Program
Among the nearly 2,200 households supported through Housing Solutions-administered rental subsidies, 74 families are part of our Family Self-Sufficiency Program. FSS assists these families to achieve financial independence by encouraging education and job training, through a five-year plan to achieve family-sustaining employment and salary levels that may eventually enable these families to move from subsidized to market-rate housing.
Participants work with the FSS Program Coordinator and Case Manager to complete a comprehensive assessment of their educational and vocational abilities, needs and interests. The participant and FSS counselors develop a service plan tailored to the participant’s goals. Staff meets with each client regularly to evaluate progress and to assure that each participant is receiving the supports and the referrals to services, institutions and programs needed to achieve their goals.
Our experience tells us that post-secondary education, and job, vocational and career training are essential for heads of households to attain family-sustaining income. FSS staff has networked with a number of community service, job training and educational institutions to develop cooperative relationships for the provision of services and training to our program participants.
A key incentive and feature built into the program is that as families increase their income, the commensurate increased tenant rent share goes instead to fund an escrow for the family to be used for further job training, education, downpayment for a first home, or other transitional expenses upon graduation from the program.
In addition, Housing Solutions has raised a pool of flexible funds that FSS participants can access when they encounter obstacles or opportunities related to their self-sufficiency goals, especially early on in the program before they have established substantial escrow accounts. These funds can keep a car on the road, pay for a training, fund short-term childcare or address other issues related to increasing family income.