Section 811 Project Rental Assistance

The Section 811 program supports the creation and operation of supportive housing with services for very low-income non-elderly persons with disabilities. First established by HUD as a standalone program in the 1990s, Section 811 initially provided capital grants  only to nonprofit developers.  Those who received competitive funding awards used them to build, buy, or rehabilitate and operate group homes and independent living apartments for people with disabilities.

With passage of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010, the program saw major reforms, including authorization of the Project Rental Assistance (PRA) option. Rather than funding developers, Section 811 PRA provides funding to state housing agencies for rental assistance in affordable housing developments built with other capital funding sources.  The housing agencies partner with state human services and/or Medicaid agencies, which cover the cost of services, to create integrated supportive housing in which no more than 25 percent of units are reserved for people with disabilities.[1] Units created through Section 811 PRA must be dispersed throughout the development, and must remain affordable for at least 30 years. As was the case prior to 2010, tenants contribute 30 percent of their income towards rent.

While Section 811 is not formally part of the homeless service system, PRA units provide an important source of affordable housing for the large numbers of people experiencing homelessness who have disabilities. The program is likely to be of special relevance to those with patterns of chronic homelessness, who require the intensive services available through supportive housing.

[1]Section 811 Program FAQS – Part One: General Section 811 Questions.” Web page. The Technical Assistance Collaborative.