There are different types of public housing available, such as housing for families, elderly persons and certain persons with disabilities. Supportive housing with assisted living services for elderly and disabled persons and congregate housing is also available in some cities and towns. There are very few one-bedroom public housing units available to single persons.
There are approximately 90,000 total of state and federally-assisted public housing units in Massachusetts. Public housing developments are apartments that are built and subsidized by either the state or federal government and are managed by local housing authorities. There are 237 local housing authorities in Massachusetts. To find out what is available in each town, call your local housing authority. You can also get a listing of all Massachusetts Housing Authorities by clicking here.
Eligibility: To be eligible to live in state public housing, a household must typically earn no more than 80 percent of the area median income. Income guidelines vary from year to year and region to region. Ask the housing authority you are applying to what the income guidelines are in its region or visit the Housing and Urban Development website. To live in state-assisted elderly public housing, you must be at least 60 years old. If you are a person with a disability, you must meet certain criteria to be eligible for state or federal housing for disabled persons.
Rent: The rent a public housing tenant pays is based on gross household income and whether the cost of utilities (electricity, heat, etc.) are included. Following are the rent calculation amounts for this region:
How to Apply for State Public Housing: Mail your completed application, including all required documentation to any Massachusetts Housing Authority. When your application is received, it is date and time stamped. Applications are processed approximately every three (3) weeks and entered into a computer system. Your name is then placed on the waiting list for whichever type of housing you have applied for (there is NO centralized waiting list for Public Housing). Once your application has been entered into the computer system, you will be sent a letter with a Control Number and the approximate wait time.
Applicants may put their name on more than one waiting list if they qualify for more than one program. Waiting lists for public housing tend to be long. When your name reaches the top of the list, you will be contacted by mail. Therefore, it is extremely important that you notify the housing authority, in writing, if you change your address while you are on a waiting list. At the time your application nears the top of the waiting list, we will ask for current documentation, including income. We require a minimum of five (5) years of housing history, including landlord full name and address. We will ask you to come into our Office to fill out a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and SORI (Sex Offender Record Information) Form for all household members 18 years and older.
Public Housing Preferences: The following are among the persons given preference for public housing units over other applicants:
For more information regarding Public Housing, please refer to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Regulations.
Click here to download an application. This will bring you to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) website, where the application and other forms can be found.