22 Jun Metro Housing|Boston Partners with Caribbean Integration Community Development on Homelessness Prevention Program
Demand for Rental Assistance Jumps During COVID-19 Health Crisis
Boston, MA – Metro Housing|Boston and Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) have partnered to help families impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis avoid falling behind in their rent or other expenses that may lead to eviction.
Metro Housing administers the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program in 29 greater Boston communities. RAFT, funded by the Massachusetts legislature through the Department of Housing and Community Development, is a homelessness prevention program for families experiencing housing crises. RAFT 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, and homelessness.
CICD will now be able to assist the Caribbean community, including Haitian Creole speakers in Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester who are experiencing housing instability, with applying for RAFT funding. CICD will help applicants navigate language barriers and overcome the digital divide that hinders their ability to complete and submit applications for RAFT. CICD is a housing and community development organization that creates and maintains affordable housing in areas of Boston where large numbers of people of Caribbean descent reside.
Metro Housing Boston received 3,125 pre-applications for RAFT since Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency declaration in March. During all of fiscal year 2019, Metro Housing distributed RAFT funds to 1,719 households. During the month of May, Metro Housing distributed more than $775,000 in RAFT support, more than any other month in staff memory.
“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 assistance has surged over the past three months and this partnership with CICD will help meet a great need for Caribbean families living in Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester.”
“The Caribbean community in Boston faces a number of challenges, including language barriers and limited access to affordable housing and meaningful employment,” said Donald Alexis, President of CICD. “CICD is glad to be able to offer this essential service and to provide relief for the many families and individuals suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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 40 percent of people expect to be able to keep up with their housing payments.
For information on RAFT, visit https://bit.ly/Rentrelief
About Metro Housing|Boston
Serving more than 25,000 households annually, Metro Housing|Boston is dedicated to mobilizing wide-ranging resources to provide innovative and personalized services that assist families in avoiding homelessness, maintain housing stability, and achieve economic security. With more than 30 years’ experience piloting and implementing housing programs, it has solidified their position as an industry-leading expert on navigating the affordable housing field. Metro Housing|Boston is committed to making sure that every person in Greater Boston will always have a place to call home. Visit www.metrohousingboston.org, facebook.com/MetroHousingBoston , or follow on Twitter at @MetroHousingBos.
About Caribbean Integration Community Development
CICD invests in Mattapan’s long-term success. We believe in the importance of supporting low-income residents in staying in their community and for members of the Caribbean diaspora to have the opportunity to integrate into their neighborhoods.
In partnership with local organizations, CICD explores affordable housing solutions and offers support and resources that are culturally sensitive through programming for professional development, workforce training, and community engagement.