Letter Urging Officials to Take Swift Action to Eliminate the Notice to Quit Requirement in the RAFT Homelessness Prevention Program

Metro Housing|Boston has signed the following letter to eliminate the notice to quit requirement in the RAFT homelessness prevention program! The letter has been endorsed by 167 organizations and municipal officials from across the Commonwealth.

October 17, 2022
Senate President Karen Spilka
Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano
Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Michael Rodrigues
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz
Members of the Massachusetts Legislature
Re: Take swift action to eliminate the notice to quit requirement in the RAFT homelessness prevention program

Dear Senate President Spilka, Speaker Mariano, Chairperson Rodrigues, Chairperson Michlewitz, and Members of the Legislature:

We are very concerned about a recent change to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT), the Commonwealth’s primary emergency rental and utility assistance program. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which administers RAFT, implemented a new policy effective August 1, 2022 that requires families and individuals seeking RAFT assistance for overdue rent to first provide a “notice to quit” (NTQ) from their landlord in order to be eligible. The NTQ is not simply a letter, but rather the first legal step a landlord must take to evict their tenant. Requiring notices to quit for RAFT applications is preventing qualified households from accessing needed benefits, leading to preventable evictions, and forcing households further behind in rent, putting them at greater risk of homelessness.

Service of the NTQ dramatically increases the chances of legal action against a tenant and has a number of collateral consequences. The NTQ is a legally required document that terminates the tenancy and provides notice of the landlord’s intent to file an eviction case in court. Once the NTQ has been served on the tenant and the notice period ends, the landlord can file the eviction case in court seeking to remove the tenant. For these reasons, many tenants immediately vacate an apartment after receiving a NTQ, and never seek access to rental assistance programs like RAFT. Additionally, many tenants – often the most vulnerable – are threatened or harassed by landlords for overdue rent but never receive a NTQ, and therefore would be ineligible for rental assistance. These tenants are often informally or illegally evicted.

For tenants who do not immediately vacate, the RAFT notice to quit requirement undermines the efforts and benefits of reaching tenants upstream to prevent evictions. Landlords often serve NTQs only after overdue rent has accrued, often beyond the current RAFT cap of $10,000. Therefore, an eviction that could have been avoided is now more likely because the NTQ was issued, and the tenant may no longer be able to access the eviction protections provided under Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020.1 Furthermore, delays in RAFT processing times also mean that a NTQ period may run out before the application is processed, resulting in the filing of an eviction case that could have been avoided. This reduces the chances of resolving the case and leaves the tenant with a permanent eviction record regardless of the outcome.

We are disappointed that DHCD implemented this notice to quit requirement, a significant policy change, without prior meaningful discussions with affected households, advocates, and communities. We call on the Legislature to include language in the FY22 close-out supplemental budget or other vehicle to expressly prohibit DHCD from requiring a notice to quit in order to access RAFT and allowing households to access more of the RAFT funds “upstream”, before having to begin the eviction process.2 Removing the notice to quit requirement will ensure that Massachusetts can build upon the lessons learned from the state’s recent experiences providing federally funded upstream Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds to renters during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As advocates, shelter providers, public health practitioners, and people with lived experience of housing instability, we know that accessing RAFT can make the difference between having safe housing and entering homelessness. Given the increasingly desperate state of affairs for renters, with increasing prices and the sudden drop in available assistance, this policy is causing many families and individuals to fall further behind on rent and is undermining the homelessness prevention goals of RAFT. We call on you to act with urgency to eliminate the RAFT notice to quit requirement.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to addressing and ending the homelessness and housing crises in Massachusetts.


Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
Kelly Turley
Associate Director

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Andrea M. Park
Director of Community Driven Advocacy

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association
Eric Shupin
Director of Public Policy

1 Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020, as amended by Section 16 of Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021, allows some tenants to seek a stay of eviction if they have applied for rental assistance. However, legal assistance often is required to get Chapter 257 protections, and courts generally will not grant the stay if the amount of rent owed exceeds the RAFT cap. Chapter 257 currently is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2023.

2 Such language could be modeled on language that was proposed as amendments to the FY23 budget and  the economic development bill, such as “provided further, that to be eligible for funds or services from this [line  item], it is not necessary for a household to be have received a shut-off notice from a utility company, notice to  quit, or summary process summons and complaint or otherwise be subject to the summary process pursuant to  chapter 239;”

Endorsing Organizations (in alphabetical order):

2 Birds No Stones, LLC

Abundant Housing Massachusetts

Action for Boston Community Development, Inc.

Alfanso Dwight Claxton Foundation, Inc.

Allston Brighton Health Collaborative

Amherst Survival Center

Arise for Social Justice

Asian American Resource Workshop

Asian Community Development Corporation


Behavioral Health Network

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority

Berkshire Housing Development Corporation

Berkshire United Way

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Boston Center for Independent Living

Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center

Boston Housing Authority

Boston Medical Center

Boston Tenant Coalition, Inc.


Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Building A Better Wellesley

Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Residents Alliance

Cape Verdean Association of Brockton

Capstone Communities LLC

Castle Square Tenants Organization

Central West Justice Center

Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF)

Charter Street Tenant Association

Children Services of Roxbury

Children’s HealthWatch

Chinatown Community Land Trust

Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Development Organization, Inc.  Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association

City Life/Vida Urbana

City of Cambridge, City Councilor Marc McGovern

City of Cambridge, City Councilor Paul Toner

City of Cambridge, City Councilor Quinton Zondervan

City of Cambridge, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui

City of Cambridge, Vice-Mayor Alanna Mallon

City of Somerville, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne

City of Somerville, Office of Housing Stability

Commonwealth Community Developers, LLC

Community Action Agency of Somerville, Inc.

Community Action Pioneer Valley

Community Economic Development Center (CEDC)

Community Teamwork

Disability Law Center

Disability Policy Consortium

DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), Inc.

Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath)

Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc.

Eliot Community Human Services

Elizabeth Freeman Center

Essex County Community Organization

Everett Haitian Community Center (EHCC)


Family Outreach of Amherst

Family Promise North Shore Boston

Fenway Community Development Corporation

Fenway Health

Franklin County DIAL/SELF, Inc.

Gandara Center


Greater Boston Legal Services

Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council

Grow Food Northampton

Hadley Senior Center

Health Services for the Homeless

Higher Ground Boston

HomeStart, Inc.

Horizons for Homeless Children

Housing Clinic of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School Housing Greenfield

Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE) at Brown University International Language Institute of Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp

Jennie Lane Apartments

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Jewish Climate Action Network

Jewish Family & Children’s Service

Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts

Justice for Housing, Inc.

Justice Resource Institute

La Colaborativa

Lawrence CommunityWorks

LifePath, Inc.

Lowell Alliance

Lynn Community Health Center

Lynn United for Change

Madison Park Development Corporation

Maloney Properties, Inc.

Mass General Brigham

Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants

Massachusetts Association of CDCs

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

Massachusetts Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth Massachusetts Communities Action Network

Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts Public Health Association

Massachusetts Senior Action Council

Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants

Massachusetts Voter Table

Mental Health Association

Metro Housing|Boston

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Minuteman Senior Services

Mutual Aid Eastie

My Life My Choice (Program of Justice Resource Institute)

National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter

NeighborWorks Housing Solutions

New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, Inc.

New England United 4 Justice

New Lease for Homeless Families

North Brookfield Cares 2 Help

Northeast Justice Center

Northern Berkshire United Way

On The Rise

One Family

Open Pantry Community Services

Opportunity Communities, LLC

Our Ancestors Church and Coven

Peabody Properties, Inc.

Plaster The Planet

Poor People’s United Fund

Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts

Progressive Massachusetts

Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts

RCAP Solutions

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.

Reclaim Roxbury

Recovery Coaches USA

Reflection Films

Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts

Residents Council for Elderly & Disabled Tenants of Quincy Housing Authority River Valley Counseling Center

Rosie’s Place

SMOC Housing – Open Pantry Community Services

Somerville Community Corporation

Somerville Homeless Coalition

Southeast Center for Independent Living

Spring Meadow Association of Responsible Tenants, Inc.

Springfield No One Leaves

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Diocese of Massachusetts

Stavros Center for Independent Living, Inc.

Stop Bullying Coalition

The Neighborhood Developers, Inc.

Together We Stand Corporation

Town Wide Belchertown Tenants Organization

Transition House

Trinity Management, LLC

Union of Minority Neighborhoods

United South End Settlements

United Way Mass Bay

Uniting Citizens for Housing Affordability in Newton

Valley Community Development

WATCH CDC, Waltham

Wellesley Housing Tenant

Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness


Women’s Lunch Place

YWCA Cambridge

cc: Governor Charlie Baker

Secretary Mike Kennealy, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development   Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox, Department of Housing and Community Development

# # #

Share this Article:

Back to 2022