Section 38A. There shall be within the department a bureau of housing for the handicapped, in the division of community development. The bureau shall consist of the director, and other such persons as shall be necessary to conduct the work of the bureau. The director shall be selected by the commissioner after consultation with representative consumer groups, with preference given to a qualified handicapped person, or to a person who has expertise in the area of the housing needs of the handicapped.
The functions of the bureau shall include but not be limited to the following activities: to coordinate within the department the several program elements relative to housing and services for handicapped persons of low income; to assist local housing authorities in planning, developing and implementing appropriate housing, management and service programs for handicapped persons of low income; to issue guidelines and directives and to promulgate rules and regulations relative to adequately housing the handicapped; to promulgate regulations and guidelines relative to contracts entered into for the provisions of services to residents of housing for handicapped persons, including the management and maintenance of the premises; to approve such contracts; to serve as a focus in developing local and statewide planning to assist handicapped persons obtain the housing and services that will increase their ability to live independently; to seek, accept and otherwise take full advantage of all federal and state aid available to the department to assist in developing housing and related services for handicapped persons; to assist other agencies to take full advantage of all federal, state and local assistance for housing, rehabilitation, and the provision of services to assist handicapped persons to live with greater independence; and to work in close cooperation with consumers, including representatives from the various organizations of physically handicapped, deaf or blind, and advocates for persons with mental retardation, emotional deficiencies, and for other socially disadvantaged and handicapped persons, and also all federal, state and local organizations and agencies concerned with developing rational planning and effective implementation of housing and related services for handicapped persons of low income and to increase their independence, productivity and self-satisfaction.