Housing Assistance Resources

Eviction Prevention Resources

Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) - Serving Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden counties, The primary goal of MHA's Tenancy Preservation Program is to preserve housing and prevent homelessness. TPP works with the tenant and the landlord to put services in place to remedy lease violations, and provides clinical expertise to the Housing Courts. TPP develops interventions, coordinates treatment and provides support to tenants. As a consultant and resource to the Housing Courts, TPP remains a neutral party in disputes between landlords and tenants.

COVID Eviction Legal Help ProjectCELHP will provide referrals, legal information, assistance and legal representation in Housing Court, and where capacity allows in District Courts and for tenants at risk of losing their subsidized housing.

Community Legal Aid - Community Legal Aid’s Housing and Homelessness Unit provides legal services to help tenants facing eviction, homeowners who are threatened with foreclosure, homeless families who need to access the state’s Emergency Assistance shelter program, and people trying to get into affordable housing.

In response to the recent lifting of the housing moratorium in MA used to prevent eviction during the COVID-19 crisis, the MA Community Mediation Centers are offering 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.

Contact your local Community Mediation Center for more information:

Hampshire & Franklin Counties

Collaborative Resolutions Group - ​CRG’s mission is to increase individuals’ and organizations’ capacity to communicate effectively, manage differences, resolve conflict, and work collaboratively. We offer customized mediation, training, facilitation, restorative practices, and conflict coaching services

Berkshire County

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority (Dispute Resolution Center)- The Dispute Resolution Center has been in place for over 28 years, providing community-based and court-connected dispute resolution services to Berkshire County residents. The Center also serves as a leader in mediation and dispute resolution trainings and courses, helping individuals meet their personal and professional goals.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has released a Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide for People At Risk of Eviction with links to a number of additional resources.

LifePath - LifePath, an Area Agency on Aging, is a private, nonprofit corporation that develops, provides and coordinates a range of services to support the independent living of elders and persons with disabilities with a goal of independence. We also support caregivers, including grandparents raising grandchildren, in many ways. LifePath serves all of Franklin County and Athol, Petersham, Royalston and Phillipston, Massachusetts. Some LifePath managed programs are available in other areas as well. Hampshire/Hampden Counties: SHINE, Personal Care Attendant, and Adult Family Care. Berkshire County: Elder Protective Services and Personal Care Attendant.

Rental Assistance

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)The new Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) leverages new federal funding for eligible low-income tenants who are in need of financial assistance. With the launch of the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, applicants should not notice significant changes in the application process, and may be eligible to receive funds from either ERAP, RAFT, or ERMA.

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) - 

The RAFT program helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies caused by loss of income, increase in expenses, or both. RAFT helps all kinds of households by providing up to $10,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing.

Funding can be used for a variety of needs, including rent or mortgage arrears, security deposits, or other expenses to help households obtain or maintain stable housing. Households with incomes up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI)*, or 60% of AMI for people who are at risk of homelessness because of domestic violence, are eligible for assistance.

Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA) - ERMA can provide rental and mortgage assistance to low-income households who have been impacted by the crisis and may not be eligible for RAFT. This program is available for households within the 50-80% range of Area Median Income (AMI). Like RAFT, ERMA may provide up to $10,000 for eligible households to assist with rent or mortgage arrears accrued after April 1, 2020 and/or with upcoming rent or mortgage payments.

To apply for RAFT, ERAP, or ERMA, please refer to the following agencies in Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties:

Hampshire County

Way Finders

Phone number: 413-233-1600​

Franklin County

Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority

Phone number: 413-863-8791 Ext. 150​

Berkshire County

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority

Phone number: 413-499-1630 Ext.168​

HomeBASE - HomeBASE is the Commonwealth’s re-housing benefit created to provide families who are in the emergency shelter assistance system an opportunity to overcome some of the financial barriers to ending their homelessness. HomeBASE can provide funds for: first and last month's rent and security deposit in a new home, furniture, a monthly stipend to help pay rent for up to one year, utilities, travel costs, many other expenses that would otherwise prevent a family from accessing a new home.

StavrosIt is our goal at Stavros to give people with disabilities the tools to take charge of their life choices, act on their own behalf, and overcome situations that reduce their potential for independence. Stavros advocates/peer counselors will work with any person with any disability who is facing a challenge to their independence. The MOST important work we do here is to help people with disabilities to transition from nursing homes and other institutional settings back to the community, or to avoid entering the nursing home at all. Stavros has many programs and services that help thousands of people in western Massachusetts to avoid nursing home placement

Applying for Housing Subsidies

Common Housing Application for Massachusetts Programs (CHAMP) - CHAMP is the website where you can apply for the Massachusetts state-aided Public Housing program and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP). Through the online system, this website lets you submit your application to one or more housing authorities, instead of having to mail or hand deliver an application to each housing authority separately. You can also keep your application information up-to-date on this website as it changes. This will help you to make sure that housing authorities know how to contact you. The Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) provides vouchers for rental assistance to non-elderly persons with a disability and of low-income who have been determined eligible and qualified for c. 667 elderly/handicapped housing. State-aided public housing includes low-income family, elderly, and handicapped housing in buildings owned by Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) throughout 240 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Note that the term “state-aided public housing” does not include state or federal rental payment vouchers or federal public housing programs.

Centralized Section 8 Application- The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is the federal government's major program for assisting low-income families, elderly and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private housing market. Housing assistance, based on household income, is provided on behalf of the family (or individual) to a landlord/property owner. Voucher program participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments in the private housing market, within an affordable range based on bedroom size. Once a unit is selected and approved by the housing agency, the tenant pays a portion of the rent based on a percentage (typically 30%) of their household adjusted income and the remaining rent is paid by the housing agency.

 

The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) -​ The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), provides a permanent improvement in the lives of low-income families and individuals by offering rental subsidies to those eligible for the program.

If you need help with the above applications please visit or contact your local housing authority or administering agency.

Berkshire County Housing Authorities:

Franklin County Housing Authorities:

Hampshire County Housing Authorities:

Resource Guides

Hampshire County

Look4Help - "The Look4Help Public Resource Directory, a program of Community Action Pioneer Valley, is a free, web-based public information service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are close to 1,000 agencies, programs or services at over 450 locations, available to serve you."

Franklin County
Look4Help - "The Look4Help Public Resource Directory, a program of Community Action Pioneer Valley, is a free, web-based public information service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are close to 1,000 agencies, programs or services at over 450 locations, available to serve you."

Franklin County and the North Quabbin Basic Needs Resources - Includes locations and contact information for Basic Needs (such as food, clothing, charging, showers, bathrooms, computer access, etc), emergency resources for survivors, housing resources, food pantries, free meal locations/times, emergency funds, NARCAN access, and Hotline Numbers.

Berkshire County
Look4Help - "The Look4Help Public Resource Directory, a program of Community Action Pioneer Valley, is a free, web-based public information service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are close to 1,000 agencies, programs or services at over 450 locations, available to serve you."