Rent Relief, Utility Arrears, and Eviction Prevention
Eviction protections in Massachusetts are extended through April 2022. If you can’t pay rent because of COVID-19-related financial hardship AND have a pending application for rental assistance, you can’t be evicted.
The Federal eviction moratorium will remain in effect until July 31, unless it is extended. On June 16, Governor Baker signed a bill that extended certain protections for renters facing potential eviction.
Until Jan. 1, 2023, Landlords are required to send a notice to quit for non-payment of rent. A Notice to Quit is NOT an eviction. You do not need to immediately leave your apartment. You are entitled to a legal proceeding in which you can defend against an eviction. ONLY a court order can force you to leave your apartment.
Until Jan. 1, 2023, a Notice to Quit must be accompanied by information about tenant’s rights and rental assistance options.
Metro Housing|Boston’s Housing Supports department includes many programs, activities, and resources that can help prevent eviction and homelessness. These initiatives, such as RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA), and ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) are funded by public contracts and private grants and donations, and help low-income renters to achieve housing stability and better lives.
For COVID-related housing crises, RAFT and ERMA can provide eligible households up to $10,000 that can be used to help keep their housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless, regardless of source of income, or lack of income. Citizenship or immigration status is not an issue for most of this funding.
RAFT/ERMA applications may also be considered for the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP); no additional or separate application is required. ERAP includes benefits that can exceed $10,000 and include slightly different eligibility requirements, along with a preference for households who have been unemployed 90 days or more at the time of application or who have income below 50% of the Area Median Income. We will match you with the most appropriate program based on your needs and circumstances, and may ask additional questions beyond those in the application. (Click HERE to read this ERAP information in other languages.)
The Federal government is providing funds for emergency rent and utility assistance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and also directly to the City of Boston. The City of Boston is setting up their own program to cover Boston residents. If you live in Boston, you may wish to apply to their program by visiting this website. However, you cannot receive assistance from both the City and the State at the same time.
RAFT, ERMA, & ERAP APPLICATION
We understand that the COVID-19 health crisis has made it difficult to get some documents. Please complete the application and attach the documents that you have available. If you do not have access to the documents and need additional time, please let us know, and we will do our best to work with you. If you have questions regarding how to complete the application, please contact Metro Housing’s Housing Hub at 617-425-6700 or via e-mail at ResourceLine@MetroHousingBoston.org
Due to the overwhelming demand for assistance, it is now taking four weeks for completed applications to be processed. Please be sure your application and all documentation are complete to allow for us to process the application as quickly as possible.
We appreciate your patience. Our staff will review submitted applications that are complete before those that are incomplete, and we may give priority to emergency situations where an eviction execution is imminent.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST TENANTS RECEIVING SUBSIDIES BY A LANDLORD IS PROHIBITED
Tenants and Landlords should be aware that Chapter 151B of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits discrimination by a landlord against any tenant receiving federal, state, or local housing subsidies, including rental assistance or rental supplements, because the individual is such a recipient. A landlord’s refusal to accept emergency rental assistance, that covers the entire amount owed to the landlord, may, in some circumstances, constitute a violation of Chapter 151B. Landlords should consult their own legal counsel for advice before declining rental assistance that covers all outstanding rent arrears.
Landlords can begin the application process for their tenants who may need to request financial assistance for overdue rent. All adult household members must sign a Tenant Consent form in order for the Landlord to complete this process. Click below to begin the online application.
Subsidized Housing Emergency Rental Assistance (SHERA) Program
SHERA provides qualified owners of affordable rental housing and Local Housing Authorities with an expedited path to apply for federal Emergency Rental Assistance on behalf of income-eligible tenants. The program is currently in a Pilot program. For details on SHERA and to access the owner portal, click HERE.
Who qualifies for RAFT, ERMA & ERAP?
Household qualifications vary by program. For example, a household that does not qualify for ERAP may still qualify for RAFT or ERMA. All households that fall within the parameters below should apply. Program staff will determine the program for which they are eligible.
Additionally, households that have already received RAFT or ERMA may receive ERAP in addition, as long as the programs do not cover the same expenses for the same month. See specific ERAP program overviews at the bottom of this section.
ERAP Program Overviews
What can RAFT, ERMA & ERAP funds be used for?
Program funds can be used for housing-related expenses only. Appropriate uses of funds include, but are not limited to:
For More Information
For more information about RAFT, ERMA, and ERAP click on the English overview (below, left) or the Spanish overview (below, right) or contact our Housing Hub team at 617.425.6700 or via email.
Additional Flexibility in Response to COVID-19
In response to the increased need due to COVID-19, DHCD has authorized a series of changes to make these programs more effective tools to help address today’s housing crises. The most significant changes include:
Metro Housing|Boston in Your Community
Colocations are part of Metro Housing|Boston’s ongoing efforts to be more visible in the communities we serve and to be more responsive to our clients and their housing needs. Partnering with local agencies and using their expertise in the community increases our ability to effectively serve those in need of housing assistance.
These partnerships help the residents of that area participate in our programs without the added hassle of securing transportation and spending time traveling far from home.
Questions about which communities Metro Housing is in? Please contact Gregg Cothias, Colocation Program Manager at Gregg.Cothias@MetroHousingBoston.org for more information about our Colocation sites and services.
Can’t make it to our office? (Our office is closed to the public until further notice) Contact the Housing Hub at ResourceLine@MetroHousingBoston.org for locations and schedules.
Green Space Financial Coaching
Green Space is a financial literacy and housing stabilization program for low- and moderate-income families and individuals in Greater Boston. Green Space provides workshops and one-on-one financial coaching with no time limits, focusing on each participant’s financial priorities. Green Space also provides housing stabilization case management services as needed.
Who would benefit from this program?
Please contact Shawn Judge, Green Space Financial Coaching Coordinator at Shawn.Judge@MetroHousingBoston.org for more information about our Green Space Financial Coaching services.