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Learn about Congregate Housing

Congregate housing, also called supported housing, is a group housing option for elderly individuals and adults with disabilities. Congregate homes have private living quarters and common dining and social areas. Support services vary, but may include meals and activities. People living in a congregate housing facility require little or no assistance with personal care.

What is congregate housing?

Congregate housing facilities range from large apartment buildings with hundreds of units to small groups of apartments. There is usually a live-in building manager and sometimes a services coordinator. Usually, at least one unit in the congregate facility is equipped with adaptive devices such as grab bars and handrails to make moving around easier and safer. Services may include meals and social activities, transportation, medication reminders, a barber shop/beauty parlor, and fitness activities. Housekeeping and personal care (assistance with daily activities like eating and bathing) are usually not provided.

Unlike Board and Care Homes, congregate homes offer private apartments. Also, congregate homes employ professional staff such as social workers, counselors, and nutritionists who provide services and activities. Most congregate housing facilities make an effort to monitor residents’ health and well-being.

What should I look for in a congregate home?

It is a good idea to visit your prospective home more than once. Talk with residents about the facility and staff, and find out whether the facility offers the services you need and want. Before your visit, print a copy of GetCare's Congregate Housing Checklist, which includes detailed questions to help you compare facilities. Consult with a trusted advisor, preferably a lawyer, before signing a lease.

How do I pay for congregate housing?

Federal, state, and local governments subsidize construction of congregate housing facilities and frequently subsidize rent at these facilities. However, rent varies greatly, depending on services offered and geographic location.