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Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance.

The main services from the Worcester based Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance all involve counseling, referrals, and general information. The agency coordinates services for youth from YAH, a resource known as Housing Assistance (HAP) for stopping homelessness, and other support services. The main goal is to both rehouse the low income or homeless and prevent future evictions.

HAP - Housing Assistance Program is for the low income and working poor in Worcester. Staff from Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance coordinate stabilization services to try to prevent an eviction. For those people that need to find a more affordable home or apartment to live in, then CMHA has information on both transitional and permanent placement as well.

Trained staff from the agency work with local landlords as well as prospective tenants on understanding the rights and responsibilities of leasing a home or apartment. They can refer qualified clients to financial aid programs for a rental deposit or other moving costs. The non-profit will also coordinate assistance in mediating any issues related to a family's tenancy.

Younger residents of the county can benefit from a program known as Youth Against Homelessness. CMHA advocates on their behalf to help address a housing crisis. They arrange for educational resources, direct the youth to job training, and offer a wide range of other services.

The agency will have information on local emergency shelters or food pantries, and they even have people that volunteer at those sites. Other support from YAH also includes clothing drives, free meals, and the agency also collaborates with many local, not-profit community groups to make a bigger impact in Worcester.

Homeless prevention is addressed through referrals and counseling sessions. Case managers as well as volunteers from Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance work with tenants that have a pay or quit notice, or ideally partner with them much earlier in the process and before they fall behind on their rent. This is a key goal, which is to keep people housed and off the streets.

The Housing Counseling program can help people access stable, safe and affordable housing. Services include education, landlord tenant mediation, and legal support regarding rights and responsibilities in Massachusetts. Additional stabilization services include referrals to community services as well as ongoing case management. In rare cases there may be emergency payments for back rental and utility bills.




The organization also works with key partners on funding and coordinating services, and they include United Way, the NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center of Worcester, and others. Each of these groups is also focused on the helping the less fortunate address any housing challenges, and they too may have information on financial aid that can help.

Minor home repairs for the elderly are available as well. While resources and funding levels vary, and it relies heavily on volunteers, there may be dozens of local homeowners assisted each year. The senior could be disabled, widowed, or faced with other challenges, but the Elder Home Repair service may still be an option.

CMHA set this up in an effort to address the special needs of fixed and often low-income, seniors and other elder homeowners. The repairs are done at a low cost, or for free, with the intent of allowing the client to continue to live in their home and not need to be moved to a nursing or other facility.

It will fix unsafe housing conditions that can cause the home to be unsafe to live in. This may be a disability ramp, leaking roof, or similar items. But the agency will need to make the financial assessment.

Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance has an office at 6 Institute Road, Worcester, Massachusetts, 01609. The primary phone number is (508) 752-5519.




By Jon McNamara


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