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Evaluating the Section 811 Rental Assistance Program


  • Section 811 expands the housing supply for poor people with disabilities.
  • Abt assessed the impact of these changes on program participants.
  • A final evaluation report was released in Spring 2020.
The Challenge

The Section 811 program expands the housing supply for poor people with disabilities. Traditionally, HUD funded nonprofits to develop group homes and small rental developments exclusively for the disabled. Changes in Section 811 provide rental assistance that enables the disabled to live in mainstream housing. The revisions also ensure residents have access to community-based long-term services and support.  State programs target the homeless or people in institutional care.   

The Approach

Abt’s task was to analyze the impact of these changes on program participants. Abt’s mixed methods approach assessed: 

  • The extent to which state housing agencies and health agency partners developed effective, sustainable partnerships that increased housing availability for people who are poor and disabled.

  • Early evidence on how participants fared on a range of issues from quality of life to health-service utilization compared with comparable individuals.

  • The program’s cost effectiveness.