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Housing Choices – Finding a Place to Live

People dealing with mental health issues or other disabilities, who need a place to live might find what they need from the choices below. Individuals living with a mental health disability may want to inquire with their Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) about the housing programs/options referenced below.

Homeless Shelters

Homeless Shelters provide temporary shelter (usually three days to two weeks) for people without permanent housing.
  • Search for Homeless Shelters in the 2-1-1 database.
  • Please note that when searching the 2-1-1 database, you must enter a zip code to find resources in your area. After clicking one of the above links to search the 2-1-1 database, scroll down and enter your zip code below the map and select “apply filters.”

Affordable Housing / Transitional Housing

Affordable housing is available all across Texas for people with low income. Affordable housing units have rent costs that are lower than anywhere else in the area. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) provides the funding that supports affordable housing in Texas. Some of these housing units are only available to older adults or people with disabilities. In most cases, affordable housing is considered to be “transitional housing,” or housing that can be used until the renter can find a more permanent home.

Boarding Homes:

In many cities and towns in Texas, small business owners operate boarding homes, which are places where people can rent a room and share the use of common areas of the house, such as the kitchen and laundry room. A boarding home often includes other services for its renters, such as group meals, help getting around town, or laundry services. Texas does not license or regulate boarding homes, but some cities do regulate these businesses. Also, there is not a complete listing of these homes or a search feature for boarding homes. For an overview of items to think about when looking for a boarding home, see the list below.

Questions to ask when looking at a boarding home:

  • How much does it cost each month? How do you get out of a lease?
  • What is included in the cost? Does it include meals, help getting around town or other services?
  • What is a normal day like? (Can you visit before moving in?)
  • How many people live in each room?
  • What are the rules about guests?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are there any staff on site?
  • How are conflicts among residents handled?
  • What are the rules about drinking and smoking?
  • Does the building meet city code?
  • Does it have working fire detectors, extinguishers, emergency exits, and other safety features?
  • Is the home near the public bus or train route?

Assisted Living:

Assisted living homes provide health services and help with personal care in a homelike setting. There is an emphasis on personal dignity, independence, and privacy. Assisted living homes can be in apartment-like buildings or private homes. Services include meals and help with taking medicines, bathing, dressing, and toileting. Assisted living homes are licensed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

Adult Residential Care:

Some adults need 24-hour care but do not need nursing services. Some residential care and treatment facilities provide this kind of 24-hour, non-nursing care. This includes crisis residential and respite resources. Residential care and treatment facilities are licensed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Most adult residential facilities offer personal care, home management, escorting, 24-hour supervision, social and recreational activities, and help getting around town.

Residential Care for Children and Teenagers:

Sometimes a child needs full-time treatment outside of their home. Residential care centers provide that kind of live-in care. Residential treatment or care centers are licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Other Supportive Housing:

Help Paying for Housing and Utilities:

Some Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) around the state offer help paying for rent and utilities such as electricity, gas, and water service. This help is for people who are homeless and have severe and ongoing mental illness, who get mental health services through the LMHA. To find out if you qualify this kind of help, call the LMHA in your area.

Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities and who live in the community. Any adult who has a disability or who is age 65 or older that is in a state of abuse, neglect, or exploitation may be eligible to receive adult protective services. Victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation may get short-term help with shelter, home repairs, food, transportation, managing money, medical care, home healthcare services, and mental health services. All cases of reported abuse are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • If an individual with a mental health disability believes they are a victim of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation, they are encouraged to call the APS Abuse Hotline toll-free at 1-800-252-5400. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Learn About Housing for People with Mental Illness: