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Housing Update: HUD Announces Awards for Section 811 "Mainstream" Voucher Program

For Immediate Release, November 7, 2000
Contact: Chris Marshall

On October 23, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the award of $61.1 million for 4,120 rental vouchers targeted to non-elderly people with disabilities -- including adults with severe mental illnesses. Rental vouchers enable recipients to get apartments by paying generally no more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent -- the voucher from HUD pays the remainder. This "mainstream" rental voucher program is part of the HUD Section 811 program, i.e. Congress directed that 25 percent of the 811 program go toward a tenant based rental assistance (vouchers) program exclusively for non-elderly people with disabilities. More information on Section 811 and other HUD programs is available at: or

Traditionally, only housing authorities have been able to apply directly to HUD to receive and administer vouchers at the local level -- eligible low-income households (including individuals) apply to housing authorities to get vouchers. However, in the Section 811 "mainstream" voucher program non-profit disability organizations have been able to apply, both this year and last year (HUD is expected to allow non-profits to apply again in 2001). NAMI pushed hard to ensure that non-profit disability groups can apply -- both to ensure that adults with severe mental illnesses are not discriminated against, and to keep 811 as a program focused on non-profits that have a better understanding of people with severe disabilities. For 2000, several non-profit organizations with expertise in serving adults with severe mental illnesses received Section 811 "mainstream" funding, including the Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation and Harbor Homes of Nashua, New Hampshire.

In the coming weeks and months, successful applicant housing authorities and non-profits for this year's round of Section 811 "mainstream" funds will begin receiving their awards. Each of these agencies will then begin allocating vouchers to eligible applicants: low-income non-elderly adults with disabilities that qualify for Section 8 assistance (including absence of a troubled tenant history or a felony drug conviction). These are agencies are required by HUD to maintain a waiting list and ensure that applicants are not discriminated against on the basis of disability (i.e., one disability group is not favored over another).

If you are a NAMI member in a community with a housing authority or non-profit organization who successfully competed for these funds, you are encouraged to contact that agency to inquire about the process for selecting applicants off the waiting list. If you wish to apply for yourself, or a family member with severe mental illness, you should contact the agency as soon as possible. To view the list of the successful applicant housing authorities and non-profits, click on: