30 Jun Metro Housing|Boston Partners with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center on Homelessness Prevention Program
Demand for Rental Assistance Jumps During COVID-19 Health Crisis
Boston, MA – Metro Housing|Boston and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) 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.
EBNHC, a leader in healthcare for the last 50 years, will now be able to assist their patients who are experiencing housing instability with completing and submitting applications for RAFT. EBNHC is one of the largest community health centers in the country, treating patients in East Boston and its surrounding communities without regard to age, income, insurance status, language, culture, or social circumstances. More than 300,000 patient visits occur at the Health Center each year.
“Decent, safe, and affordable housing is critical to building healthy communities, said State Representative Adrian Madaro. “Where we live determines our access to clean air, a safe environment, and quality healthcare. With many residents unable to make housing payments due to income loss related to COVID-19, expanding access to RAFT is more crucial than ever. Residents cannot stay home to limit the spread of the virus if they have been evicted and become homeless. I applaud the innovative leadership of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Metro Housing Boston in forging a partnership to improve the health of residents of my district by stabilizing the housing of those in need.”
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 EBNHC will help meet a great community need in East Boston and surrounding communities.”
“Affordable housing is a key part of building a healthier community,” said East Boston Neighborhood Health Center President and CEO Manny Lopes. “As one of the social determinants of health, we feel strongly that having access to safe, affordable housing promotes good health for all. We applaud Metro Housing and our local officials for their efforts and continued commitment to housing assistance. EBNHC looks forward to continuing to work with our partner organizations and elected officials to address community needs.”
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 only 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 East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) has been a vital part of its community for the last 50 years, providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Winthrop. EBNHC supports over 1,000 employees and handles 300,000 visits per year – more than any other ambulatory care center in New England. For more information, please visit www.ebnhc.org.