MBHP seeks more funding for Housing Consumer Education Centers

April 18, 2014


Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership to restore funding to the state’s Housing Consumer Education Centers, a key, front-line housing resource in Massachusetts. Thirty-six representatives have signed on to cosponsor the amendment.

Since July 2013, Housing Consumer Education Centers have assisted more 51,000 households statewide with housing crises and questions. Of these, more than 12,600 were handled by MBHP.

Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee recommended a $1 million funding cut to Housing Consumer and Educations Centers statewide, a loss that would limit their ability to meet the growing need for help with housing issues in the Greater Boston area.

MBHP serves as the Housing Consumer and Education Center for Boston and 29 surrounding communities. The program serves a vital, front-line role in assisting households facing housing crises. Centers help prevent homelessness through educational services, such as workshops and trainings, and administration of the state-funded RAFT program. RAFT, which stands for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, provides funds and support necessary to allow low-income families to stay housed or move into their next home during periods of financial crisis. In the past nine months, MBHP has helped 950 families across their region avoid homelessness through the RAFT program.

“MBHP’s Housing Consumer and Education Center is an integral part of our work,” said MBHP Executive Director Chris Norris. “People with limited or no resources can come to us for help with their housing issues. This funding is essential to meet the increasing demand for service.”

According to MassHousing, Housing Consumer Education Centers are designed to maximize housing stability, strengthen investments, and minimize disputes. The program emphasizes self-reliance through knowledge and skill-building with classes on budgeting and financial planning, fair housing, and first-time home buying.

MBHP’s Housing Consumer Education Center, one of nine centers throughout the state, serves as a resource to tenants, landlords, prospective homebuyers, and homeowners, providing answers to a wide range of housing questions ranging from how to find a home to maintaining a positive relationship with tenants. They also offer access to telephones, newspapers, computers, and the Internet to assist people in their housing searches. Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the program is free and open to the public.

Those with housing questions for MBHP’s Housing Consumer Education Center can call (617) 425-6700 or email ResourceLine@mbhp.org, or visit the MBHP office at 125 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111. Walk-in hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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