The Worcester Housing Authority reserves 15 apartments to house homeless families in its Transitional Housing Program (THP). This program is funded by DHCD.
The goal of our THP is to help homeless families become self-sufficient. Participating families work to meet their self-determined goals and once they have met them, they graduate, and lease their apartment becoming traditional public housing residents.
Families receive extensive support including service referrals, transportation and regular interaction with the caseworker.
How to Enroll The Department of Transitional Assistance or area homeless shelters refer families to the program. Families complete an extensive program application and assessment where they describe their family, personal challenges and life goals. The goals help determine how the family can address their particular needs and obstacles to self-sufficiency. Goals often include completing a GED or ESL program, paying off debt, community college training or learning life skills.
Program Requirements Families enrolled in the THP do not pay a monthly rent. However, there are several requirements of program participants.
- Families are required to save a specific percentage of their monthly income. This money is targeted to assist families when they leave the program
- Employed or participating in a job search
- If unemployed, they must participate in education or vocational training
- Participation group sessions focusing on building life and relationship skills
- Meet monthly budgeting goals
- Follow program rules
- No drugs or alcohol use
WHA Offerings Each family enrolled in our THP is assigned a caseworker who is trained to assist the family in their efforts toward self-sufficiency. The following are a few of the things that we do to help our families:
1. Supply them with furniture for their apartment
2. Supply them with kitchen utensils, kitchenware, pots and pans
3. Provide a range of personal training and information including
4. Offer ESL and GED programming on site
5. Offer employment counseling and job placement assistance
6. Offer an after-school homework assistance program for all children in elementary school grades
7. Enroll families in Mass Health or other health care benefits
8. Act as family advocates with area services agencies and schools
9. After school tutoring and homework help
10. Refer and take families to service providers
When they graduate In the state program, the length of stay is typically 6-7 months with a maximum stay of one-year as determined by Department of Transitional Assistance.
Once a family graduates they typically transition into becoming a regular tenant, leasing the apartment they occupied in the THP. Some participants set a goal of saving money to move to a private apartment, one family saved enough to pay off debt and purchase their own home.
Families needing support after graduation participate in an After Care program. The caseworker will visit the family, offer assistance or provide help from time to time, based on the family needs.
For more information, visit our Transitional Housing office located at 32 Great Brook Valley Ave or call us at 508-635-3355
Housing for People With Disabilities
The Worcester Housing Authority provides housing opportunities for individuals and families with disabilities. Our handicapped accessible apartments meet all federal and state guidelines. The following reflects the various programs available.
Federal Public Housing The WHA provides federally funded public housing for people with disabilities where the head of household or spouse has a disability and is income eligible. The WHA has a number of studio, one and two-bedroom apartments in its federally subsidized communities to offer applicants who fit this criteria.
State Public Housing State funded public housing is open to households where one member of the household has a disability and meets the prescribed income requirements. For this program, however, there is a limit to the number of non-elderly disabled people with disabilities who are allowed to rent in specific communities.
Special Needs Housing Chapter 689 housing is public housing for adults with special needs. The program was established to serve people with a wide variety of needs. The WHA contracts with the Massachusetts Departments of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services that have created group homes for adults with mental disabilities.
Alternative Housing Voucher Program The Alternative Housing Voucher Program is a state-funded voucher program that provides vouchers to people with disabilities who are under 60 years of age, and their families, who are on the waiting lists for state public elderly/disabled housing. Voucher holders are restricted to the amount of rent that they may pay for an apartment.
DMH Rental Assistance Program The Department of Mental Health (DMH) operates a state-funded rental subsidy program. You must be eligible for state public housing tenant selection criteria and also be in need of supportive residential services as determined by DMH.
DMH/DDS Project-based Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers The WHA provides housing assistance to units owned or operated by the Massachusetts Departments of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services. The owners of the property contract with the WHA and guaranty that they will provide affordable housing opportunities for a specified period of time for clients of DMH and DMR.