Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)

Program Overview

RAFT is a state-funded program to provide assistance to low-income households who are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This includes assistance for households who are facing eviction, foreclosure/mortgage arrears, rental arrears, utility shut-off, or leaving an unsafe or doubled-up housing situation. RAFT recipients are granted a maximum up $4,000 over a 12-month period to ameliorate their housing situation. Those funds can be applied toward eligible uses which include:

  • Rental, mortgage, and utility arrearages
  • Security deposits
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Moving costs
  • Furniture. (a maximum of $1000 and only if associated with the housing crisis)


  • Now available to an expanded population, including individuals, families with older children, couples
    without children, unaccompanied youth, and any other household size/configuration
  • Household income at or below 50% of Area Median Income (as determined by HUD)
  • Undocumented households are welcome to apply.
  • Must provide documentation / proof that household is facing a qualifying housing crisis:
    • Facing eviction: (court summons required)
      • Subsidized households must prove financial hardship that explains cause for arrears
    • Leaving doubled-up housing :
      • Letter from landlord/primary tenant explaining that family must leave, must also include
        the address, date, and contact name & info of person writing letter
      • Copy of new lease/letter of intent to rent for new apartment
    • Leaving unsafe housing:
      • Verification of unsafe housing conditions
      • Copy of new lease/letter of intent to rent for new apartment
    • Facing foreclosure or mortgage arrears:
      • Current mortgage statement
      • Letter from lender indicating family is >30 days in arrears & at risk of foreclosure
    • Households with rental arrears:
      • Written documentation of rental arrears
      • Demonstration of a financial hardship (reduction in revenue and/or increase in expenses)
        causing nonpayment of rent
      • Demonstration that payment of arrears will allow household to retain their housing
    • Facing utility shutoff:
      • Utility shutoff notice and current bill

Temporary Application Changes in Response to COVID

  • Household income at or below 50% of Area Median Income (as determined by HUD) or between 50% and 80% of Area Median Income (as determined by HUD)
  • Households do not have to provide verification of housing crisis as long as they can confirm that they are unable to pay their full rent, mortgage, or moving costs due to COVID-related financial challenges.
  • Flexibility around required documentation (talk to your RAFT case manager for more details)
  • For those receiving unemployment benefits, only the base benefit will be considered for income eligibility. Any additional pandemic assistance will not be calculated as household income.
  • Households may deduct qualified sources of income from gross income for eligibility determination purposes, including:
    • Child support, separate support, or alimony paid under court order agreement
    • Child care or care of a sick or incapacitated household member
    • Tuition and fees for vocationally related post-secondary education (not full-time)


Program Overview

HomeBASE is a state program that assists families leaving emergency shelters to transition to permanent housing. The program can provide a maximum of $10,000 over a 12-month period to cover housing-related costs, including:

  • rental start-up costs, including first and last month’s rent and a security deposit
  • a monthly stipend to help pay rent for up to one year
  • utilities
  • furniture
  • additional costs associated with accessing housing, including moving and travel costs

In addition to providing rental assistance, families who participate in HomeBASE are paired with a case manager who can help with accessing additional community supports and resolving potential tenancy-related issues. They all gain access to DHCD programs for education, workforce development, child care, and housing support.


To qualify for HomeBASE, a household must be eligible for Emergency Assistance (EA). An eligible household is defined as:

  • Homeless children under age 21, and their families, including parents, step-parents, other close relatives or legal guardians who are primary caretakers of the child(ren); or Homeless pregnant people at any stage of pregnancy, and the pregnant person’s spouse.
  • For immigrant households, at least one household member must have an immigration status that falls in the “eligible non-citizen” category under state law. These statuses include:
    • Certain veterans, active duty military personnel, and their spouses and dependents
    • Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) whose status was granted prior to August 22, 1996
    • LPRs whose status was granted since 8/22/1996, and who’ve held that status for five consecutive years
    • Refugees and asylees (does not include asylum seekers who have not yet been granted asylum)
    • Withholding of deportation non-citizens
    • Certain parolees and conditional entrants (see here for more details)
    • Battered non-citizens
    • Cuban/Haitian entrants
    • Amerasians
    • Victims of severe forms of trafficking (with DHHS letter of certification)
  • Gross household income under 115% of Federal Poverty Line, excluding certain types of noncountable income (SNAP, assistance from social service organizations, work-study, etc.)

Households must also provide documentation to verify that they are homeless without feasible alternatives for housing, which includes temporary housing with friends, relatives, or charitable organizations. Household must also be in one of these categories:

  • At risk of domestic abuse in current housing situation, or experiencing homelessness after fleeing DV, and not safely/permanently housed since leaving DV situation,
  • Experiencing homelessness due to fire, flood or natural disaster, through no fault of household members,
  • Evicted for no fault, due to:
    • foreclosure
    • condemnation
    • lease expiring without renewal, or termination of month-to-month tenancy
    • Evicted for fault, for an “excused” reason — due to:
    • conduct by guest or household member who is not a part of the EA household and whose conduct EA household members couldn’t control
    • non-payment of rent* caused by:
      • documented medical condition,
      • diagnosed disability; or
      • documented loss of income w/in past 12 mos due to change in household
      • composition or loss of income source through no fault of household (applies if family loses >10% of their income and new, lower income means
        family pays >50% of their income for rent + utilities)
    • *non-payment of rent conditions can apply to former homeowners evicted due to foreclosure
  • Living in a situation where EA household doesn’t include primary lease holder (doubledup and not on the lease, or doubled-up and on the lease, but not head of household or that person’s intimate partner)
  • Child(ren) in household living in a place not meant for human habitation, i.e.:
    • doesn’t have hot and cold water for personal use
    • doesn’t have heat Sept 16 – June 14
    • doesn’t have electricity or lighting, or no access to control over lights/electric
    • doesn’t have toilet facilities; or
    • has unsanitary conditions that result in the accumulation of garbage.

Households that used EA within the past 12 months are subject to additional restrictions, but may still be eligible, depending on the circumstances. More info at

How to Apply

RAFT and HOMEBase are both administered by the Housing Consumer Education Centers of Massachusetts’ (HCEC) 9 regional administering agencies. The first step in applying for either program will be to get in contact with you regional HCEC administering agency. The HCEC home page includes a useful tool for locating your regional HCEC agency: to locate your agency either select your town from the drop down menu or on the map (see link below).

We have also included a list of these agencies and contact information in the table below.

ProgramService AreaContact
Berkshire Housing Development Corp. (BHDC)Berkshire County413.499.1630
Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI)41 communities in Middlesex and Essex Counties978.459.0551
Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA)Franklin County413.863.9781
Housing Assistance Corp. (HAC)Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties508.771.5400
Metro Housing BostonMetro Boston (see list of towns served)617.859.0400
NeighborWorks Housing SolutionsPlymouth and Bristol Counties781.422.4200
RCAP Solutions, Inc.Worcester County978.630.6600
South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC)See service area508.872.4853
Way FindersHampden and Hampshire Counties413.233.1500

Find your Regional HCEC Agency

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