Rental Assistance Programs
The purpose of rental assistance is to help low-income households secure decent rental housing by providing assistance that fills the gap between the family’s ability to pay and total housing costs.
In most programs, participating households must find housing that meets program requirements on the private rental market. Assisted units are regularly inspected to insure that they meet program standards for safety. Written agreements are signed between the owner, tenant and agency outlining their respective rights and responsibilities. Program participants pay a share of the rent based on their household income, and BHDC pays the rental assistance amount directly to the landlord each month.
Those selected for the program receive counseling on program requirements, tenant rights and responsibilities, fair housing, housing search and negotiating with landlords. Landlords are provided with detailed information about the program and receive monthly checks directly from the agency. Housing counselors assist both tenant and landlord throughout program participation.
Participants may choose housing anywhere in Berkshire County and lease it through BHDC. They are also able to select housing anywhere in the state through a network of regional agencies that contract with the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Out-of-state transfers can also be arranged under some programs.
Section 8 Housing
- CHAMP application for mobile MRVP vouchers – LINK to Online Application
- Aplicación de CHAMP para vouchers mobiles de MRVP – enlace para la applicación online.
- CHAMP application – paper application (pdf download)
- Aplicación de CHAMP – Aplicación en papel. (Descargar PDF)
- Section 8 Forms/Application
- Frequently Asked Questions about Section 8 Rental Assistance
- List of Massachusetts Regional Administering Agencies (RAAs), service areas and contact information
- The Family Self Sufficiency Program
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC)
- Landlord/Owner Incentive Program – Incentive Payments to Property Owner
- HUD Payment Standards for Rents in Massachusetts
- Fair Housing Responsibilities
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
Under MRVP, a fixed amount of rental assistance is paid, based on the participating family’s income, household size and geography. The participant pays the difference between the value of the voucher and the actual rent charged by the landlord. The tenant cannot pay more than 40% of their income for rent.
Supporting Neighborhood Opportunity in Massachusetts ("SNO Mass")
The SNO Mass program supports Housing Choice Voucher families with children to move to communities with high-quality schools, parks and open space, and healthy, safe environments. SNO Mass provides many benefits and supports to participants who move to these high-opportunity communities, as well as benefits for property owners who rent apartments in these communities to SNO Mass participants.
By entering an address into this search tool, you can see which neighborhoods have been designated as SNO Mass Opportunity Areas.
Project Based Section 8 Rental Assistance
Rental Assistance for Special Populations
Shelter Plus Care
This is a closed referral system through the Institute for Health and Recovery.
A federally funded program, this project based subsidy provides rental assistance for disabled very low-income families and individuals recovering from addiction. Eight apartments are available at 184-186 Bradford St. and 206 Francis Ave., Pittsfield, MA. Clients receiving assistance through the Shelter Plus Care program pay 30% of their monthly income as their share of the rent. The remaining portion of the rent is paid directly to the landlord in the form of a housing assistance payment on or about the first of every month. All units must pass an inspection and be in compliance with applicable lead paint laws.