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Housing & Shelter

MASSCAP: fuel and food assistance, early education and care and Head Start,adult basic education and job training, affordable housing, financial education and asset development, and more

American Residential Treatment Association, Member organizations of ARTA offer a variety of services and are able to respond to a wide range of needs. Members will be talk with you about their programs and how they might address your specific set of circumstances.

The Wellmet Project is a unique program that operates group homes for people with mental illness It’s purpose is to not only meet the basic needs of each individual, but to encourage growth, independence and self-sufficiency. The homes are cooperative households, with staff and residents alike performing the various tasks that are necessary for any home to operate properly.

State Mental Health Resources for Massachusetts, Searchable Databases at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration of the U. S. (SAMHSA). Click on Mental Health Facilities, Click on MA for Mass., Click on the Service Setting drop down menu and select Residential Care, this will provide you with a list of group homes.

HomeStart is dedicated to ending homelessness and changing lives. HomeStart’s focus is on each individual person. Housing Search Advocates assist homeless adults and families at more than 50 shelters and programs in Greater Boston with the complicated process of locating affordable permanent housing. People are assisted one-on-one with obtaining private apartments and government subsidized housing units. HomeStart offers representative payee services for disabled individuals and families who need help managing their money. Money Management Specialists pay each participant’s monthly bills such as rent and utilities and work with them to set up a budget and savings plan for their remaining funds. HomeStart’s Rental Fund helps participants overcome the financial barriers to obtaining permanent housing. It is most often used toward move-in costs such as first month’s rent or security deposit. HomeStart also runs the New Frontiers Program, which provides both monthly stipends toward rent and budgeting workshops for one year. HomeStart also administers the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF). Boston phone: 617.542.0338 Cambridge phone: 617.234.5340

Section 8 Made Simple, publication written in clear language about Section 8

Housing Programs in Massachusetts

Homelessness Programs in Massachusetts

Learn more about renting and HUD rental assistance programs and has a listing of foreclosure prevention links.

Housing Consumer Education Centers offer answers to a wide range of questions about all types of housing problems. Tenants, landlords, prospective buyers, and homeowers can access information designed to maximize housing stability, strengthen investments, and minimize disputes.

What is Public Housing?

HUD’s Public Housing Program: Who is eligible, How do I apply, etc.

Massachusetts Public Housing Agencies List of Massachusetts Public Housing Agencies with address and contact information

HUD to find subsidized apartments in Massachusetts

Housing Discrimination: To file a complaint

Massachusetts Town Hall Directory. Call local town hall to find out about funds for prevention of homelessness.

Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association, Find a Residence (Some will take Medicaid however you’ll be sharing the Residence with another person):

Massachusetts Dept. of Housing and Community Development: how to obtain housing assistance, foreclosure assistance listing by town and other resources

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Health and Human Services is proud to sponsor an Internet site dedicated to sharing information about community services and resources for people without homes. This Internet site lists resources according to region and service type.

Massachusetts Shelters and Transitional Housing Programs

Tenancy Against Homelessness: 617-854-1089
Autism Housing Pathways: Building Roads to Home: “Thinking about housing for your adult child” is relevant for many families. While a lot of parents think this issue only applies to people who have a severe disability, the reality is that 80%-90% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed.Additionally, only about 1 in 17 adults with autism will receive 24/7 residential services through DDS. Parents of younger children need to understand the need to begin saving early, and the importance of teaching their child certain skills to reduce the cost of support services. For more info 617-893-8217.


Household Goods Recycling Ministry, provides recycled household goods to the needy individuals and families of our surrounding communities at no charge, through the use of volunteers, and in cooperation with religious organizations of all faiths and denominations, human service agencies, service organizations, and commercial businesses.

Salvation Thrift Store Locations

Saint Vincent De Paul Furniture & Donations. Thrift Store “Due to the Massachusetts Board of Health laws we are unable to accept mattresses and/or boxsprings.

My Brother’s Keeper This organization picks up furniture donations in several towns throughout Massachusetts at no cost to you. Your donations are then given to families in need throughout the state. My Brother’s Keeper only accepts personal furniture donations, such as beds, kitchen tables and lamps. (508) 238-7512.

Service area:  Abington, Avon, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Dedham,  East Bridgewater, Easton, Holbrook, Mansfield, Milton, Norton, Norwood, Pembrook, Quincy, Randolph, Rockland, Sharon, Stoughton, Taunton, West Bridgewater, Westwood, Weymouth, Whitman

Mission of Deeds is a non-profit organization staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers who are located in Reading, Massachusetts. We purchase beds with cash donations and distribute them, along with donated furniture and other household items in good condition, to needy families and individuals living in Middlesex and Essex counties of Massachusetts.


There are many options for housing in Massachusetts however the need far outweighs the capacity to meet the need so apply for as many programs as you are eligible for and make sure to keep your information up-to-date with the various programs. Many programs have limited slots available and so you have may have to wait to get a place. That is why applying to as many programs as possible is a good strategy.

Supervised Group Housing
This type of housing provides the most care for its residents. Residents generally share a room with at least one other person. These facilities need to be licensed by the state. The license must be posted in the facility for the public to view. The license requires that the facility provide safe and clean conditions in which to live. Residents have their own bed, dresser and closet space. Bathrooms and common areas are shared. Some supports supervised group housing can provide are:

  • 24-hour supervision and assistance
  • Assistance in performing basic daily living skills
  • Assistance with medication
  • Food and meals (no less than three meals per day)
  • Assistance with paying bills and managing money
  • Company from other residents and house managers, which can help to ease loneliness
  • Assistance with making doctor’s appointments and usually assists with transportation
  • Day programs


In Massachusetts these are called Shelter Plus Care Homes and you have to be a client of the State under the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH), the Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS) or the Dept. of Public Health to be eligible for this program. To apply for DMH services, contact the Area Office that covers your town which you can find here. If you are already a client of DMH you should contact your caseworker to ask for housing. The number of slots in this program are determined by the annual budget and so it may take some time to obtain a place.  If you do not have a referral from a state agency, you may apply for permanent supportive housing on your own. The 54trDepartment of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Bureau of Federal Rental Assistance at  617-573-1150 has information about Shelter Plus Care supportive housing throughout Massachusetts. If you are homeless and have chronic mental illness, you may call the Center for Mental Health Services at  1-800-789-2647.

Partially Supervised Group Housing
This type of housing provides support for its residents, but staff is not there 24 hours a day. Residents can be left alone for several hours and are able to call for help if needed. Generally, residents share a room with at least one other person.

  • Provides minimal supervision and assistance
  • Daily living skills are performed independently or semi-independently
  • Most residents help with cooking and cleaning
  • Residents are usually encouraged to participate in a day program or hold a part-time job
  • Other residents help to ease loneliness

In Massachusetts these are called Group Homes and you have to be a client of the State under the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) to be eligible for this program. Contact the Area Office to start the application process to become a client of DMH. To apply for DMH services, contact the Area Office that covers your town which you can find here.  If you are already a client of DMH you should contact your caseworker to ask for housing. The number of slots in this program are determined by the annual budget and so it may take some time to obtain a place.

Supportive Housing
This type of housing provides the least amount of assistance. Residents are left alone for large amounts of time. However, there is usually someone they can call for assistance. Some houses will have residents sharing a room; others will not.  (e.g., group homes with no on-site 24 hour care).

  • Residents are able to live fairly independently
  • Residents are able to call someone if a problem arises
  • Other residents help to ease loneliness

In Massachusetts, this is generally Supported Apartments in elderly and disabled housing complexes. You have to be a client of the State under the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) to be eligible for this program. Contact the Area Office to start the application process to become a client of DMH. If you are already a client of DMH you should contact your caseworker to ask for housing. The number of slots in this program are determined by the annual budget and so it may take some time to obtain a place.

Rental Housing
Subsidized or Independent funds (e.g., private market, public and non-profit housing).
This type of housing is for someone who is completely independent. Tenants are able to care for all their basic needs. Representative payees and caseworkers can still be a vital part of the tenant’s life.

  • Residents are able to live independently
  • Resident may pay own bills or have a representative payee
  • Resident has own space and privacy
  • Resident is responsible for cleaning home
  • Resident can take medications and cook for self
  • Resident may have a caseworker to assist with making doctor’s appointments and arranging transportation
  • Resident will call landlord for repairs
  • Resident has custody of children or is seeking custody of children
  • Resident may be active in day programs or has a job

Section 8, MRVP, and AHVP tenant-based vouchers are rent vouchers that let people choose their own housing anywhere they want to live. They are different from project-based vouchers and public housing, where people have to live in particular housing developments. Individuals and families with tenant-based vouchers can choose any apartment they want, as long as the rent is reasonable and the unit is safe and clean. If the individual/family moves, the rental assistance goes with them. To find out more about Section 8 and other voucher programs visit the MassResources.org website here.

For other options in housing in Massachusetts please visit MassResources.org here

Where can I find housing?

Housing is the hardest need to fulfill in Massachusetts . Determine what your needs and requirements are. It helps to be flexible in location since the Metro Boston area has the longest wait lists (up to 5 years in some cases).

Take a few minutes to read this helpful guide Housing Search Guide for People with Disabilities in Mass.

Have you applied for a Section 8 voucher? This can also be a factor in determining where you live since some areas have used their entire allotment. For the process of how to apply for a voucher, click here. Obtain the housing application from the towns you want to reside in. Note that certain areas are covered by one application (example: Metro Boston). Some applications are available online. If you need help with housing applications or Section 8 voucher applications, contact your nearest Community Action Agency for assistance. Most agencies will assist with emergency housing needs.

If you are already a client of the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH), contact your case manger at the local site office to discuss your housing needs. The majority of group homes in Mass. are funded by DMH but operated by subcontractors of DMH. You can also check into the extensive list of Housing and Shelter Resources under the Resources & Links tab of our website.