COVID-19 New Resources for Renters and Homeowners

    COVID-19 New Resources for Renters and Homeowners

    Apr 22, 2020

    On March 10, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker announced a State of Emergency in Massachusetts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Commonwealth. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is committed to supporting our families and residents through this uncertain time.

    This includes:

    • A new $5 million special fund under the RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) program for eligible households (families and individuals) who may face eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies. Full details on this under the RAFT tab below.

    • Guidance to all state-aided public housing operators, including Local Housing Authorities and private operators, to suspend both pending non-essential evictions and the filing of any new non-essential evictions.

    • Guidance urging operators of private, affordable housing to suspend non-essential evictions for loss of income or employment circumstances that result in a tenant’s inability to make rent. This guidance also urges operators to establish reasonable payment plans, to notify Section 8 or public housing residents about interim income recertification to adjust rent payments, and to consider offering relief funding for residents ineligible for income reassessment.

    • DHCD is moving to temporarily suspend terminations of federal and state rental vouchers, including assistance provided under the Section 8 (DHCD portfolio only), Massachusetts Rental Voucher and Alternative Housing Voucher programs, in all cases other than those involving violent or drug-related criminal activity that seriously affects the health and safety of other residents.

    • DHCD will also automatically extend the deadline by which a household issued a voucher must identify a housing unit where they can use the voucher. The 60 day voucher search term would be extended automatically until 30 calendar days past the expiration of the state of emergency.