Page Reviewed / Updated – Nov. 20, 2022

Program Description

Among assistance programs for the elderly, the Massachusetts Supportive Senior Housing Initiative Program is nearly unique in its design. Also referred to as the Elderly Supportive Housing Initiative, this program provides assisted living level of care to elderly residents living in publicly supported housing. Instead of low income seniors with moderate care needs being forced into Medicaid-funded nursing homes prematurely, the state brings assisted living level care to public housing.

Two levels of support are provided through this program. All elderly residents in need receive certain assistance free of charge (included with their rent). A higher level of assistance is offered, which some residents receive free of charge (funded by other public sources), and others pay for, on a sliding scale based on their income. Similar to assisted living facilities, supervision and assistance is available around the clock.

To participate in this program, the person in need of care must currently reside in or move into a publicly supported housing development in one of these communities: 

The Supportive Senior Housing Initiative falls under the Massachusetts Supportive Housing Initiative program, which is a collaborative effort between The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible for assistance under the Supportive Senior Housing Initiative Program, the individual must be eligible for publicly supported housing for the elderly.

  • Applicants must be at least 60 years of age.

Applicants must have an annual income no greater than 80% of their area’s median income. For 2022, 80% of the state of Massachusetts’ median income for a one-person household is approximately $47,150 to $70,750 / year and for a two-person household is approximately $53,850 to $80,850 / year. However, bear in mind, the median income by county or town changes dramatically throughout the state. This means that depending on the area in which one resides, the median income could be on the high or low end of the figures given above. To see your area’s median income, click here. While the median income for an area does not remain the same from year to year, it is unclear at this time when the income limits for state-aided public housing will change.

The value of one’s assets is not considered a factor for admittance into this program.

Benefits and Services

In addition to the rent assistance provided to public housing residents, the Senior Supportive Housing Initiative offers the following services free of charge to all residents:

  • Coordination of Needed Services
  • Case Management
  • 24-hour Supervision, as needed. (There is a person on call who lives on the premises)
  • Reminders to Take Medications
  • Activities With Other Residents
  • Meals (A minimum of one meal per day)

A higher level of services is available, but is only free based on meeting eligibility requirements determined by necessity and income. If eligibility requirements are not met, then these services are offered on a sliding scale:

  • Personal Care Services (Such as help bathing, grooming and dressing)
  • Laundry
  • Housecleaning 
  • Shopping for Groceries
  • Transportation

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How to Apply / Learn More

The application process is managed at the community level. Those wishing to apply for the Supportive Senior Housing Initiative program should reach out to their local housing authority in the community in which services are being sought. Community locations and contact information for each local housing authority is available here. Some communities may have waiting lists for oversubscribed services.

For more information contact the Bureau of Housing Management at 617-573-1150. Limited information can also be found here

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