Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

Why the Program is Needed

People with disabilities face a housing crisis across the United States. Approximately 4.9 million non-institutionalized Americans with disabilities received total Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments of only about $8,995 per year in 2014 – low enough to be priced out of every rental housing market in the nation.1 In 2014, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $780 per month – equal to 104 percent of the average monthly SSI income for a non-institutionalized person living independently. The unmet housing needs of people with I/DD are further reflected in the over 110,000 people with I/DD who are on formal state waiting lists for residential services in the U.S., the over 860,000 who live with an aging caregiver (age 60 or older), and the thousands who live in institutions but would prefer to live in the community.2

What it Does

Section 811 is the only federal program dedicated to creating affordable, accessible housing for low-income non-elderly people with the most significant disabilities to help them live independently in the community. Historically, it has provided capital dollars to nonprofits for housing development, as well as funding for ongoing rent subsidies to make housing affordable to people who receive SSI. Changes authorized under the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 authorized the new Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program, which provides funding to directly to state housing agencies that meet new eligibility criteria, including having a partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide essential supports and services. Housing created under the new Section 811 PRA program is integrated and is linked with voluntary supports and services. PRA funds can be used to set aside apartments within larger affordable housing developments for supportive housing for extremely low income people with significant disabilities.

Authorizing Legislation

Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013); Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-374).

Recent Funding

Please see the table on the Funding for Federal Disability-related Programs page.

For More Information

1 Priced Out in 2014: The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities. Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. and Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, May 2015.

2 Braddock, D. et al. (2011). The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities. University of Colorado.