Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) & Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA)
The state-funded RAFT and ERMA programs are tools used by the Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) team to provide eligible households up to $4,000 per 12-month period that can be used to help retain their housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless.
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 RAFT a more effective tool to help address today’s housing crises. The most significant changes include:
Applicants can simply provide a short self-statement (written or verbal) connecting their housing emergency with the COVID-19 crisis. Third-party verification or documentation verifying loss of income is not needed.
If documents are unavailable due to the COVID-19 crisis, applications may be processed without documentation that is normally required.
Applicants may qualify for utility assistance by simply providing a notice of arrears. A shutoff notice is not necessary.
Subsidized applicants may receive RAFT a second time within 24 months but a rent adjustment should be explored first if there has been a loss in income.
Applicants no longer need to be behind on payments to apply. Applicants can provide documentation that COVID-19 has affected their future ability to pay.
Income eligibility will be based on current income.
CARES act payments will not be included in eligible income calculations.
Applicants do not need a notice to quit, court summons, or utility shutoff notice to apply.
Households composed of two or more people living together, one of whom is a dependent child under the age of 21. A pregnant mother qualifies if she is the head of household.
Individuals, families with older children, couples without children, unaccompanied youth, and households of any size.
Household must provide documentation/proof that they are currently experiencing a housing crisis:
For households with rental arrears: Written documentation of rental arrears, demonstration of a financial hardship (reduction in revenue and/or increase in expenses) that caused the nonpayment of rent, and demonstration that payment of the arrears will allow the household to retain their housing.
For households facing eviction: Summary Process Summons and Complaint. Tenants who have a housing subsidy and are facing eviction due to non-payment of rent must also provide proof of financial hardship that explains cause for arrears in order to receive assistance.
For households leaving doubled-up housing: Letter from landlord or primary tenant explaining that the family must leave. This must also include the address, date, and contact name and info of person writing letter. A copy of new lease or letter of intent to rent for new apartment.
For households leaving unsafe housing: Verification of unsafe housing conditions and copy of new lease/letter of intent to rent for new apartment.
For households facing foreclosure or mortgage arrears: Current mortgage statement and letter from lender indicating that family is at least 30 days in arrears and at risk of foreclosure.
For households facing utility shutoff: Utility shutoff notice and current bill.
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis and the stay at home advisory, we ask that clients do not leave their home to attain documents. If they have access to documents without leaving their home, please email pictures of the documents using their smart phone, if possible. If they do not have access to the documents and need additional time, please let us know.
What can RAFT & ERMA funds be used for?
Program funds can be used for housing-related expenses only. Appropriate uses of funds include, but are not limited to:
Rental or mortgage arrearages.
First and last month’s rent.
Furniture. (May only be requested if connected to one of the housing crises listed above).