Important Emergency Rental Assistance Update – Federal Program Will Stop Taking New Applications Soon; Targeted State Program Will Continue
The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will stop accepting new applications on or around April 15, 2022. Households will still be able to apply for rental assistance from the more targeted, state-funded Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program.
Applications for rental assistance received after April 15th will be considered for assistance under the more targeted state-funded RAFT program, subject to funding availability. Households can apply by submitting an online application. The state RAFT program may provide up to $7,000 for rent and other housing costs, including moving expenses. Homeowners can continue to access the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
Free legal aid is available to assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. More information is available here, or you can go to https://hedfuel.azurewebsites.net/ to find a legal aid program near you. Massachusetts Community Mediation Centers also offer free pre-court mediation between landlords and tenants for COVID-19 related lease disputes in addition to the summary process cases referred through the courts.
At this time, the MA Emergency Housing payment Assistance Application is not accepting applications from homeowners. Homeowners in need of mortgage assistance or other housing assistance may apply for the new Homeowner Assistance Fund (MA HAF) Program. Please visit this link to learn more about HAF and to see if you may be eligible. To apply to Mass HAF, visit www.massmortgagehelp.org.
Information for Landlords
Discrimination by a landlord is prohibited
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.
If you are a landlord/property owner applying for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance (i.e., RAFT, ERAP) on behalf of your tenant, you must ask that your tenant complete and sign THIS FORM. Please note that some sections of the form must be completed by the landlord/property owner.
Property owners may also be eligible for mortgage assistance if they are at risk of foreclosure on their primary residence. Use the same application below to apply.
Programs & Resources
Learn More About Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Programs