Who are the people who live in federally assisted rental housing? The latest figures show that 57 percent are the elderly and people with disabilities, and 29 percent are the working poor. Still, of the 25.7 million households eligible for housing assistance, only one in five actually receives it. Another one in five is on a waiting list for assistance, and the remaining three are not even in the queue.

Studies have shown that stable, affordable housing can improve educational outcomes, result in better employment and income and promote positive physical and mental health. Here are two award-winning examples of how affordable housing communities can become assets to their communities.

Teague Terrace

Teague Terrace was developed to provide high-quality affordable housing to the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles County. The 56-unit apartment complex, located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood, opened in August 2015 and provides permanent housing for people with developmental disabilities, homeless veterans with special needs,  and homeless people receiving services through the county.

Of the 25.7 million households eligible for housing assistance, only one in five actually receives it.

The community provides on-site supportive services to residents to help retain housing for those most at-risk of falling back into homelessness. Additionally, the housing community prioritizes its residents’ quality of life by providing on-site enrichment activities, promoting existing community resources and helping residents organize a tenant council.

Casa Farnese

Casa Farnese opened in 1966 with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 202 financing and was the first senior affordable housing community of its kind in Pennsylvania. With 18 floors and 288 apartments, it stood proudly in a centrally located Philadelphia neighborhood and was luxurious by the standards of the day.

Over the decades, the lack of rent increases along with rising costs had a negative impact, and by 2003 the facility was in need of major repair. When hired in 2003, the new management company began addressing the most critical issues first and was eventually able to secure financing to help rehabilitate the aging property and adequately staff the building. In 2016, Casa Farnese celebrated its 50th anniversary.