08 Jul East Boston Times: State doubles rent relief and foreclosure prevention resources in Partnership with Metro Housing and Regional Network
Source: East Boston Times
Metro Housing|Boston and other regional housing organizations have partnered with the Department of Housing and Community Development to almost double the assistance available to families impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis by providing assistance that will help households who fall behind in their rent or mortgage payments that may lead to eviction or foreclosure.
The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program builds upon the popular and effective Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program that Metro Housing administers in 29 greater Boston communities. Funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development, ERMA is a homelessness prevention program for families experiencing housing crises and expands eligibility to households with income of 80 percent of the area median, which for a family of three is $86,650.
ERMA allows eligible households to apply for up to $4,000 in assistance that can be used flexibly to meet the expenses often associated with housing instability, eviction, foreclosure, and homelessness. The program has allocated $20 million statewide for rental relief through June 2021, which when added to the funding available for RAFT in the last fiscal year doubles available resources.
“The impact of this relief for property owners cannot be understated,” said Chris Norris, Executive Director of Metro Housing. “Not only do these property owners provide housing for thousands of renters in our region, but their own housing stability is at risk. It is in everyone’s interest that renters and owners alike get this help.”
A recent survey of 1,500 people by MassINC Polling Group, found that 29 percent of renters missed all or part of a housing payment in April, May, or June. The report says that if the current health and economic crisis continues for another six months, that only 40 percent of people expect to be able to keep up with their housing payments. While 12 percent of property owners reported that they had missed all or part of a mortgage payment through June, only 61 percent of home-owning poll respondents stated that they were likely to keep up with payments through six months.
“There have been so many families faced with a loss of income during this health crisis,” said Felisha Marshall, Director of Housing Supports at Metro Housing. “The demand for rental and mortgage assistance has surged over the past three months. This increase in funding and expansion of eligibility will help meet a great community need in metropolitan Boston and across the state.”
For information on ERMA, visit https://bit.ly/Rentrelief