Glossary of Housing Terms
Accessible units generally fall into the following categories:
Barrier-Free Units: Units that are barrier-free are accessible to people with disabilities that use wheelchairs, but they can also be used by people with different types of disabilities. For example, a person of very short stature, a person with a brain injury or stroke, severe cardiac or respiratory problems, or a person with limited standing, walking, or reaching ability, may use the design features of a wheelchair accessible unit. The design features must accommodate the needs of the tenant or a member of his or her family. Medical documentation must substantiate the need.
Other Accessible Units: There are other types of accessible units for people who do not necessarily need a barrier-free unit. Other kinds of accessible units are units that are equipped with communication devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or units that are equipped with devices for people with visual impairments. People with disabilities are eligible for these types of units if they need the particular design features of the unit.
Unit types may have one of the following "affordability" levels:
Low/Income-based: Rent or price of these units is based on the income of the occupant.
Moderate: Rent or price of these units is less than that of market rate units due to some sort of subsidy used to make the apartment more affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The rent level is a set (lower) price and not based on the income level of the household.
Market Rate: Rent or price for these units is at market rate.
Alerts are notifications that the system sends you regarding your account. An example is an alert for your saved search criteria. After saving your search criteria, you can select how often you would like the system to send you updates of the results matching your search.
A unit with 6 or more bedrooms.
For the purposes of the MassAccess Housing Registry, a consumer is anyone seeking affordable and accessible housing in Massachusetts.
CSV (Comma-Separated-Value) is a common file type used to import data from one software application to another, with commas separating the values in each field.
A development is a group of houses or units in an area.
Independent Living Center Regions
Independent Living Centers (ILCs) are community-based non-profit organizations which provide services and advocacy for all persons with disabilities. Massachusetts has 11 ILCs which serve all regions of the state including Berkshire County; Greater Boston; Central MA; Cape & Islands; South Shore; North Shore & Cape Ann; MetroWest; Northeastern MA; Fall River/New Bedford; Hampden/Hampshire/Franklin Counties; and Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan.
Someone who may list developments and unit types for a particular organization.
A lister administrator is the first lister registered for an organization and is responsible for managing other listers for the same organization.
Property listings are maintained by listers on behalf of an organization. An organization may be a housing authority or property management company.
For the purposes of the MassAccess Housing Registry, property owners are those individuals who have developments or units to rent or sell.
A reasonable accommodation is a change in the policy, rules, procedures, practices, or services that enable a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the housing available. Accommodations must be practical and reasonable and must not pose an "undue burden" on the owner or alter the main function of the housing (for example, asking your landlord to help you pay your bills or drive you to appointments would alter the function from housing manager to advocate or personal assistant and may not be reasonable).
At least every 60 days, information posted about developments and unit types must be renewed, or re-confirmed, to remain available in public searches.
This feature enables you to enter a set of criteria for searching for housing, and then re-use the same search again at a later time. You must be logged in to save a search.
Rental Assistance in Massachusetts is covered under Section 8. Federally-funded, tenant-based Section 8 vouchers are issued by public housing authorities or regional non-profit agencies in Massachusetts. Tenants use vouchers to rent apartments in the private market from landlords or owners of private housing. Vouchers are mobile: with a Section 8 voucher, a tenant can live anywhere in Massachusetts. (Go to Rental Assistance FAQ for more information about Section 8).
There are many different kinds of subsidized housing programs. Most of these programs, however, work in the same way. People who are low-income pay 30% of their income towards rent, and the state or federal government pays the difference between this amount and the actual costs of the housing. (Go to Subsidized Housing for more details).
A type or category of unit depends upon bedroom size, affordability level, and accessibility status. MassAccess stores statistics about unit types rather than information specific to particular units.
A Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is federally-funded. Tenant-based Section 8 vouchers are issued by public housing authorities or regional non-profit agencies in Massachusetts. Tenants use vouchers to rent apartments in the private market from landlords or owners of private housing. Vouchers are mobile: with a Section 8 voucher, a tenant can live anywhere in Massachusetts.
The length of time it may take to obtain a Section 8 will vary from housing authority to housing authority and some preferences may apply, making the wait longer. Sometimes the wait may only be a few months, and sometimes it could be several years. The agency that you are applying to should be able to provide you with an estimated wait time.