The outside of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington D.C.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development offices in D.C. / Photo courtesy of F Delventhal flickr.com

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would award 325 local public housing authorities with a total of $131.3 million to provide affordable housing for residents with disabilities. This housing assistance is expected to aid  nearly 15,400 non-elderly persons with disabilities across the country.  

The housing assistance that was announced is provided through HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, which provides funding to housing agencies to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities, particularly those who are transitioning out of institutional or other separated settings; are at serious risk of institutionalization; are currently homeless; have previously experienced homelessness and are currently a client in a permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing project; or are at risk of becoming homeless. 

This program helps further the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act by helping persons with disabilities live in the most integrated setting. The program also encourages partnerships with health and human services agencies with a demonstrated capacity to coordinate voluntary services and supports to enable individuals to live independently in the community. 

Out of that $131.3 million, $923,832 was sent to Community Connections here in D.C. to provide permanent affordable housing to 75 residents of the District living with disabilities.  

“HUD recognizes the need for affordable, accessible housing options that promote independence and dignity for people living with disabilities. Through these vouchers, an additional 75 individuals with disabilities will be able to find homes that will meet their needs in the community of their choice,” stated Joe DeFelice, HUD’s regional administrator for the Mid-Atlantic region, in a press release. “That’s a win-win for our communities, and for those we serve.” 

Community Connections is a nonprofit that aims to provide behavioral health, residential services, and primary health care coordination for marginalized people that live in the District, many of whom are coping with challenges including mental illness, addiction, and other disabilities.  

The organization was an early leader in the efforts to develop and implement effective housing placement processes. It has also been active in the fight to expand availability of housing resources to those who most need it.   

They own and manage more than 50 properties throughout the District that provide permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities. The properties range from independent apartments, unstaffed group houses, and staffed group houses to accommodate the needs of anyone that comes through Community Connections. 

They have collaborated with the Community Partnership for the prevention of Homelessness and have been funded through HUD in the past to administer a wide range of supportive housing programs that offer rental assistance and supportive services for adults and families that are facing homelessness and concurrent behavioral health conditions who may also be recovering from trauma and/or may be a U.S. Veteran. 

There is no doubt that individuals who will be affected by the HUD award will greatly benefit, as this money goes straight to providing housing services they so desperately need.