Many of the homeless as well as eviction prevention programs in Suffolk County are available as the result of the Emergency Solutions Grant. Non-profits and local government affiliated agencies, such as the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA), will provide various forms of assistance in an effort to end homelessness in Boston and the county.
Much of the money for this program is the result of the Emergency Solutions Grant. Agencies such as St. Francis House, Family Aid, and Urban Edge coordinate the eviction assistance services in the region using these federal government authorized funds. Case managers will screen the requests for grant based aid, direct tenants to legal aid, place families into shelters, and offer other help.
There is assistance available for low to moderate income families as well as individuals who are at risk of losing their current home or apartment. Residents usually fall behind on their rent, but some struggle with paying utility bills, which can lead to homelessness. Most of the aid in the region is targeted at applicants with a one time crisis, and this is the scenario that is most preventable.
Case managers from agencies such as CAPIC - Community Action Programs Inter-City want to stop the eviction so the family does not need to have their life disrupted. It is costly for the government (not to mention the family) to move them into a Suffolk County shelter, so resources are coordinated to stop this. All efforts are therefore made to keep the individual stable.
Organizations that partner with MHSA will link the tenant to the services that they qualify for and that they need. Solutions range from a legal review of the eviction notice from Greater Boston Legal Service to direct financial aid from the ESG program. Other needs around employment, credit repair, and financial literacy will also be covered. They can also refer a struggling client to the government benefits in the state, one of which is RAFT.
State agencies implemented these programs as the result of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. It is for solving a housing crisis only. So the amount of eviction help is very limited, prioirty is given to people who are most vulnerable (such as veterans or single moms) and those that are following a goal based, case management plan.
This is what is used to quickly move a Boston are family to a new, affordable home in Eastern Massachusetts. As many people know, this is not always easy to do in the marketplace. The monthly rent in the city and communities such as Dorchester is very high and increasing. All housing programs, ranging from section 8 to veteran services from SSVF, are assessed.
Emergency Solutions Grants as well as statewide programs, such as HomeBase, are used to pay for rehousing as well. The client will work with a case manager to find a new home. Then, applications are done for security deposits, lease application fees, and moving costs.
Once a family has moved in, ongoing eviction prevention workshops are held by FamilyAid Boston or the Kit Clark Senior Services Center. This is a pro-active approach to breaking the cycle of homelessness in Suffolk County. The follow up will help the family maintain their home, or understand their legal rights when it comes to the eviction process that is part of landlord/tenant responsibilities.
Most of the requests from the community is for eviction help. There are some local agencies such as the Dorchester Multi-Service Center (MSC) which will guide homeowners as well. The financial help available for a mortgage or homeowner related bills is limited, as this form of aid can be very expensive to implement. In most cases the solution is to offer legal aid, such as mediation, to address the crisis.
Evicted Suffolk County Massachusetts can also apply for temporary housing, motel vouchers, or Shelter Support too. There are dozens of charities that place the homeless into a property, and shelters are also available for women/children fleeing a domestic violence situation.
The Housing Access Collaborative (HAC) will then enroll the client into rehousing, which is noted above. If they stabilize their living situation, a rental subsidy may be given to the participant for future rent deposit expenses.
Any support from agencies in the Suffolk County community, such as Action for Boston Community Development, will require the tenant to pay their future rent and energy bills on their own in the future. The emergency eviction prevention services are offered one time only to families that have historically been stable. Some of the phone numbers for referrals include 617-348-6449 or 617-542-7286.
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