Bridges Rental Assistance
updated September 22, 2017

The Bridges program helps individuals and families that include at least one adult with a serious mental illness pay for privately owned rental housing. This help continues until you become eligible for another housing program, such as the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, or until you move into another type of housing.

Bridges is meant to help you while you apply for Section 8 or are on a Section 8 waiting list. If you apply for Section 8 and the waiting list at your local public housing authority (PHA) is closed, Bridges can help. The moment the Section 8 waiting list opens, you must get on the waiting list. Once you are able to get benefits from another housing program, you stop getting benefits from Bridges.

If you qualify for Bridges, you will end up spending 30% – 40% of your income on your housing and the Bridges program will pay the rest.

Who It Helps

Bridges is for low-income individuals and families that include at least one adult with a serious mental illness. The exact income limits depend on the number of people in your household and where you live. The best way to know the income limit in an area is by contacting a local PHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also lists income limits. Households with income that is below 50% of median income (what HUD considers “very low income”) or lower may qualify.

Bridges gives priority to helping people who are:

Housing Settings Where the Bridges Program May Help

Bridges helps people rent any apartment or home where a landlord will accept it as a form of payment. This means that you can choose the home or apartment you want to rent instead of being limited to a housing project or low-income housing.

Note: Bridges will not pay for institutional or residential settings, like nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals/facilities, Boarding Care Homes, and group residences that specifically serve people with mental illness.

Application

To apply, contact a local housing authority for the Bridges program. They will explain the full application process.

When you apply, a mental health professional will need to verify that you or someone in your family has a mental illness and you need to show that you have applied or tried to apply for Section 8.

Finding a Place

If you are approved for Bridges, you need to find a place to rent. The place you find will have to be within size and rent limits that are set by Bridges based on your household size and situation; and the landlord will have to agree to accept Bridges as payment. There are different ways to find a place. Here are a few you can try:

  • Search online on websites such as HousingLink
  • Look at bulletin boards in community locations
  • Check ads in newspapers
  • Get recommendations from people you know
  • Ask your housing authority and other nonprofits that help people with housing, and
  • Talk to your Bridges case manager, if you have one.

Once you find an apartment that will accept Bridges, you will spend 30% – 40% of your income on your rent and Bridges will pay the rest.

Get Help

To learn more about Bridges, contact:

Find Local Services