The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) stopped accepting applications on April 15, 2022. Households can still apply for rental assistance from the more targeted, state-funded Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program.
For households applying to RAFT for assistance with rent arrears, a notice to quit or eviction notice/court summons is now required. The RAFT program helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies. RAFT provides qualifying households with maximum benefit limit of $10,000 per household in a 12-month period. RAFT can cover utilities, moving costs, and overdue rent, as well as forward rent in limited situations. Renters or landlords can apply by submitting an online application.
RAFT does not serve homeowners. Homeowners may access mortgage and other assistance through the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
Free legal aid is available to assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. More information is available here, or you can go to https://hedfuel.azurewebsites.net/ to find a legal aid program near you. Massachusetts Community Mediation Centers also offer free pre-court mediation between landlords and tenants for COVID-19 related lease disputes in addition to the summary process cases referred through the courts.