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Rental assistance Massachusetts.

The state of Massachusetts administers multiple emergency rental assistance programs, provides transitional and low income housing, and several other homeless prevention services. Qualified applicants can get everything from cash and grants to pay for security deposits and monthly rent up through help moving into safe and affordable low income housing units. Below you will find information on all of the resources available, as well as additional details on the application process.

Short term transitional housing and shelters are located across the state of Massachusetts. The centers provide temporary housing for Massachusetts low income and/or homeless families, teenagers, and adult individuals who need a place to go for a night or a longer period of time.

In addition to offering lodging, most of the shelters and low income housing units also offer support services that can help people find long term and stable housing to move into. Transitional housing programs provide many free support services and advice to help homeless people find housing or apartments and to live independently. Call 781-595-7570 to reach Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless (MCH).

Low and moderate income individuals and families who are at risk of becoming homeless due to an eviction may be able to receive support from the state of Massachusetts homelessness prevention programs. These assistance programs help low income and struggling Massachusetts residents keep their current apartments or housing. In some cases, the family may just need to move though. In those cases, the program may also be able to help them find other safe affordable housing if it is determined that is the best solution.

Prevention programs offered to qualified individuals include various types of emergency rental assistance, including cash grants and financial assistance, free legal help, counseling, emergency shelter, case management, and other support services. For referrals, dial (617) 788-3610.

Massachusetts Emergency Assistance (EA) is a state government created and funded program that provides a number of services to low to moderate income Massachusetts families with children and also to pregnant women. The goal of this program is to prevent homelessness in local communities. The program helps eligible families who will become homeless, or who are currently without a permanent address, and who have nowhere else to live. The Emergency Assistance program is run by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Call DHCD at 1-877-418-3308.




A number of non-government agencies partner with the state of Massachusetts. These can include your local church, non-profits like the Salvation Army, or Catholic Charities among many others. Together they offer homelessness prevention services and programs to Massachusetts residents who are in danger of losing their housing or who have nowhere to live. Some of these homelessness prevention agencies offer grants for paying rent or bills or other direct services, while others give referrals and advice. Click here to find agencies that offer emergency rental assistance by state.

The federal government created Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is also available in the state. Dial 888-283-3757. The program can help low income Massachusetts families who are considered at-risk pay their rent. The programs focus is on those who only need short-term assistance to resolve their housing crisis. The HPRP helps by providing emergency rental assistance, funds for paying back rent, utility bills and arrearages, security deposits, free hotel/motel vouchers, and even moving and storage costs.

HomeBASE - This is a new housing and rental assistance program created by the state. A primary focus is on people who are currently homeless and/or living in motels or hotels. Families who are faced with an eviction may also qualify. Massachusetts is using funds to help qualified individuals find low income housing, pay their security deposits, and also first months rent. A priority is given to households with children, even including single parents in the state. In total a few thousand dollars can be provided. Learn more on HOMEBASE in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT) is a homelessness prevention service that provides short-term emergency financial assistance. It is available for people who own their home and also tenants that lease a property. There are grants provided to low-income and struggling families who faced with an eviction, foreclosure, or who are at risk of becoming homeless. In addition assistance may even be provided for anyone who is currently homeless.

RAFT is all encompassing and quite extensive as it helps individuals and families who are behind on paying their mortgage, rent, or even heating or utility bills. The RAFT program may also be able to help families who have to move to a new home or apartment but do not have enough money to pay for first month’s rent, a security deposit, or their utility startup costs. While funding is limited, qualified individuals can receive up to $3000 to use towards their housing expenses.

While the state of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development runs the program at the state level, in your local county or town assistance from RAFT is provided by regional non-profit housing agencies (RNPs). These local RNPs will then coordinate their efforts with the regional Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs) that then provide referrals for emergency housing assistance as well as screenings.





Funds from the RAFT program can help with paying back rent or overdue mortgage payments. Other expenses can be covered too using this statewide resources. Some families can receive help for paying security deposits, utility bills/arrearages or heating fuel, first and last month’s rent, or even for furniture. Call 1-800-224-5124.

In addition to the resources indicated above, the state government coordinates foreclosure prevention, provides shelter and transitional housing, and has some crisis type rent and housing programs. Read more on some additional resources available for tenants in government housing in Massachusetts.

By Jon McNamara

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