Emergency Financial Rental Assistance
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts now requires all renter and landlord applications and documents to be uploaded directly into their system.
Berkshire Housing is no longer allowed to accept documents by email or to upload them for applicants. Renters, homeowners and landlords must set up their accounts online. However, if you are unable to access or submit an online application, please contact 413-499-1630 ext. 153 or email@example.com for assistance.
For households applying to RAFT for assistance with rent arrears, a notice to quit or eviction notice/court summons is now required.
To learn more about the RAFT program, visit: Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program | Mass.gov
The RAFT program helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies. RAFT provides qualifying households with up to $7,000 per household in a 12-month period to preserve current housing or move to new housing. RAFT can cover utilities, moving costs, and overdue rent. For households applying to RAFT for assistance with rent arrears, a notice to quit or eviction notice/court summons is now required. Renters or landlords can apply by submitting an online application.
Click below for a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the RAFT program:
The RAFT application system requires both a tenant application and a landlord application for tenants who are requesting rental assistance. Landlords and property owners can (a) begin the RAFT application process for their tenants who may need to request financial assistance for overdue rent OR (b) complete the application once the tenant has submitted their application.
To begin the landlord/property owner application process, you must first register an account as a new user if you have not already done so here: User Registration (mass.gov)
***Your account must have info entered for the Payee, Properties, and Payment Methods sections on your profile before you can apply.
Once a landlord/property owner has an account, you can apply here: MA Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal (mass.gov) If your tenant has already completed their application at the time you are submitting the landlord application, be sure to include the Tenant Application Code that you received in your email. Note that the Tenant Application Code is different from their Case ID.
For more guidance on how to apply and create a landlord profile, please utilize this reference guide: Housing Assistance Application Reference Guide (mass.gov)
For a list of landlords’/property owners’ Frequently Asked Questions, visit: Landlord FAQs download (mass.gov)
For other resources, including recordings of webinars about Landlord/Property Owner RAFT Application Portal, visit: RAFT Public Resource and Training Portal | Mass.gov
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.