30 Nov 1,805 households from 29 communities received a total of $5.1 million in RAFT funding in FY20
Homelessness Prevention Program Saves Commonwealth At Least $25.7 Million
Boston, MA – Metro Housing|Boston has released its seventh annual Report on the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) showing how the state’s largest homelessness prevention program saved Massachusetts at least $25.7 million and helped 1,805 families in greater Boston avoid homelessness in the fiscal year ending in June 2020.
RAFT is a homelessness prevention program for families experiencing a housing crisis. 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. It is funded by the Massachusetts legislature through the Department of Housing and Community Development and is administered by ten nonprofit organizations across the state. Metro Housing administers RAFT in Boston and 28 neighboring communities.
In Metro Housing’s 29-community Greater Boston service area, the $5.1 million RAFT investment helped 1,805 families resolve a housing crisis that may have led to homelessness. With nearly 500 of the families potentially eligible for shelter, keeping them stably housed saved the Commonwealth up to $25.7 million.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the need for rental assistance in the Boston region. In a separate report released in October 2020, Metro Housing reported that the number of households that received RAFT increased by 62 percent between March and August 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Most recently, Metro Housing has reported that in the first 12 weeks of FY21 nearly 1,100 households impacted by the pandemic received $3.2 million in RAFT support. In FY20, it took nine months to spend a similar amount and assist as many households.
Other Key Findings from RAFT in Review FY2020:
- RAFT program participation increased by more than 75 percent in the fourth quarter of FY20 compared to the third quarter.
- Median income of RAFT recipient households without subsidized housing fell from nearly $29,000 in March 2020 to zero in May and June 2020.
- Metro Housing provided RAFT assistance to 6% more families in FY20 compared to FY19.
- The average RAFT benefit increased from $2,599 in FY19 to $2,832 in FY20.
- Only four percent of FY20 recipients also received support in FY19. Seventeen percent of FY20 recipients received RAFT at least once between FY16 and FY20.
- 82 percent of households that received RAFT assistance from Metro Housing in FY20 were headed by women.
- 60 percent of the households that received RAFT from Metro Housing in FY20 faced eviction for non-payment of rent. At least one family was assisted in each of the 29 communities where Metro Housing provides RAFT.
Massachusetts has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and the metro Boston region is one of the least affordable regions of the Commonwealth. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are only two states in the U.S. with a bigger gap between the average wages of renters and the cost of rental housing.
“Thanks to the commitment of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Metro Housing is able to continue to help all households and individuals with the resources needed to remain stably housed and avoid eviction,” said Metro Housing Executive Director Christopher Norris. “Our report confirms previous findings about the effectiveness and efficiency of RAFT as a tool to stabilize housing for households with subsidized housing. The data also illustrates the urgent need for additional income and housing supports to prevent an increase in homelessness because of pandemic-related losses in employment.”
To access the full report, visit bit.ly/RAFTFY20
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.
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