The affordability gap for people with disabilities has exponentially worsened in recent years. According to Priced Out in 2012, over 4.8 million non-institutionalized Americans with disabilities who rely on federal monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have incomes less than $8,700 per year – low enough to be priced out of every rental housing market in the nation. In 2012, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $758 per month – or 104% of the national average monthly SSI income for beneficiaries living independently.
Finally, the supply of affordable, accessible housing remains far less than the need. Key programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that seek to increase affordable housing for people with disabilities, include:
Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program. Section 811 is the only HUD program dedicated to producing affordable, accessible housing for non-elderly, very low-income people with significant disabilities. Section 811 was recently modernized by the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act to make the program more efficient and to substantially increase the units that the program creates. As modernized by the Melville Act, Section 811 housing is typically integrated into larger affordable housing apartment buildings, and is linked with voluntary supports and services. Tenants pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent which ensures affordability for people who receive SSI.
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program helps very low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities afford rental housing in the private market. About 1 in 3 households using Section 8 vouchers are headed by a non-elderly (under age 62) person with a disability. Tenants must be low-income, and typically pay 30 percent of their income for rent. Participants must find their own housing, but can choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program. Due to limited funding and high
Public Housing. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments. About 1 in 5 households living in public housing are headed by a non- elderly (under age 62) person with a disability. Tenants must be low-income, and typically pay 30 percent of their income for rent. Like Section 8 vouchers, availability is limited and applicants may be on waiting lists for years.
National Housing Trust Fund. The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) is a new, dedicated fund that will provide grants to states to build, preserve, and rehabilitate housing for people with the lowest incomes. The NHTF was established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-289), but has not yet been funded.