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Housing Toolkit:


The basics

Services and supports

Various services and supports can be used to help people with disabilities plan for, find and maintain housing. Think creatively about a person's networks — both formal and informal — to help them achieve their housing goals.

Natural (or informal) supports are freely given and available to people with or without disabilities to navigate the world. Natural supports can be especially helpful in building relationships and decreasing reliance on formal service systems. Because natural supports can help people feel more included, they can support independent living.

Examples of natural supports

Natural supports in housing include:

  • Friends and family connecting someone with housing options and helping with housing searches
  • Friends becoming roommates to share expenses
  • Neighbors checking in on each other or being available for back-up if needed
  • Coworkers serving as a reference on rental applications
  • Cultural communities

In some cases, the person you support may need to work with a housing transition professional to begin a housing plan and search. Over time, however, the housing transition professional may provide less support as the person transitions to more independent living and develops stronger natural supports. This doesn't happen with everyone, but is important to understand for some people.

Check out housing programs that help people with disabilities (PDF). These programs are specifically designed to help people with disabilities plan for, find and maintain housing. They help people in different ways depending on the situation.

Finding the right housing for someone is often a combination of the right place at the right price. Sometimes people with physical disabilities rule out housing options because they're not accessible. In these cases, a person can request reasonable accommodations.

Federal law requires housing providers to allow reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Examples include:

  • Assigning an accessible parking space for a person with a mobility impairment
  • Allowing a tenant to transfer to a ground-floor unit
  • Adjusting a rent payment schedule to align with the person's benefits or assistance schedule
  • Adding a grab bar to a tenant's bathroom
  • Allowing an applicant to submit a housing application in a different way

Housing Benefits 101 offers an interactive letter writing tool in My Vault that can help someone write a letter for a reasonable accommodation in housing.

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