Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA), & Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
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 June 30, 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.
For COVID-related housing crises, Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA), and Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) are programs that can provide eligible households with assistance 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 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.)
In an effort to serve as many households as possible, we have made some changes to the RAFT /ERMA application process at Metro Housing. The largest change is that, due to health considerations, we have eliminated in-office appointments and are using an online option instead. See below for more information about applications in other languages.
The process for referrals from partner agencies has several steps:
For greatest efficiency and to ensure the swiftest process, please provide all required documents and explanation of the housing crisis. It will take between four and seven weeks to process all applications.
Additional Flexibility in Response to COVID-19
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:
Applications in Other Languages