19 May RAFT Application Process Made Simpler, Faster
Rent Relief Program Now Accepting Applications Through User-Friendly Online Form
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) is now simpler and faster for eligible households and individuals to apply for financial assistance (up to $4,000) that can be used for rent arrears, utility arrears, and other expenses. The changes come at a time when the program has seen a three-fold increase in applications due to the COVID-19 health crisis. In the eight weeks since the state of emergency declaration, Metro Housing has received 2,179 pre-applications for RAFT, more than the total number of households we helped all of last year.
The process is now fully electronic, and will allow applicants to securely upload required documents to the user-friendly online form, rather than mailing them, sending them as email attachments, or dropping them off at Metro Housing’s office. They will receive an immediate email confirmation when their completed application has been received.
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which provides the funding for RAFT, has made additional changes to make RAFT a more effective tool to help address today’s housing crises. The most significant changes include:
- The application has been reduced from 15 pages to four pages, and the number of signatures required has been reduced from up to eight to just one signature.
- Applicants can simply provide a short self-statement (written or verbal) connecting their housing emergency with the COVID-19 crisis. Third-party verification or documentation verifying loss of income is not needed.
- If documents are unavailable due to the COVID-19 crisis, applications may be processed without documentation that is normally required.
- Applicants may qualify for utility assistance by simply providing a notice of arrears. A shutoff notice is not necessary.
- Subsidized applicants may receive RAFT a second time within 24 months but a rent adjustment should be explored first if there has been a loss in income.
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