There are approximately 90,000 units of state and federally assisted public housing 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 253 local housing authorities in Massachusetts. 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 is a very small amount of public housing available to single persons. To find out what is available in each town, please call your local housing authority. 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 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website at www.hud.gov. 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 household income and whether the costs of utilities (electricity, heat, cooking fuel) are included. Tenants residing in elderly/handicapped public housing pay:30 percent of net income where the tenant does not pay for utilities25 percent of net income where the tenant pays for some or all utilities
Tenants residing in family public housing pay:32 percent of net income where the tenant does not pay for utilities30 percent of net income where the tenant pays for some (but not all) utilities27 percent of net income where the tenant pays for all utilities How to apply for state public housing: You must put your name on a waiting list that is kept by the local housing authority. 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 comes to the top of the list, the housing authority will contact you. Be sure to notify a housing authority if you change your address while you are waiting for a public housing unit. Public Housing Preferences:The following are among the persons given preference for public housing units over other applicants:Persons who are homeless due to natural disastersPersons who are homeless due to public action
Persons with emergency needs (such as domestic violence victims, persons with medical emergencies, or homeless persons facing an immediate threat to their health and safety)There are also preferences for veterans and local residents. For more details, consult a local housing authority. Federal Public Housing: For information about eligibility requirements, rents, preferences and applications, please call your local housing authority. You may also visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website at www.hud.gov for more information.