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How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance

Massachusetts can help you with overdue rent payments (as well as overdue utilities or mortgage payments). Learn how to submit a complete application below.

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24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are free and confidential. Interpreter services are available in multiple languages.

The Details of How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance

What you need for How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance

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You must submit a complete application with all required documents to quickly receive your benefits.

Additionally, we encourage tenants to reach out early to their landlords, and inform them about an ERAP application. Landlords or property management will be needed to complete the process.

Check your eligibility using this tool:

PLEASE NOTE: To be eligible to be awarded future rent payments (stipends), at least one month’s arrearage is required (unless moving due to health/safety crisis, overcrowding, doubled up, etc.)

Impacted by COVID-19? COVID-19 impact can be indirect. When applying for assistance, please select Yes if your situation was either directly caused by COVID-19 OR has become worse since March 2020. This could include losing a job, having hours reduced, losing access to childcare or dependent care, seeing increased expenses, or something else. You must describe your situation, but documentation is not required to prove COVID-19 impact. Some programs do not require a COVID-19 related impact.

There are four categories of documentation:

Presumed eligibility: Households receiving benefits from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) or most MassHealth plans (verified online) are presumed eligible and do not need to submit documentation.​


Benefit LettersHouseholds can demonstrate income eligibility with a letter or form that is dated January 1, 2020, or later, for one of the following benefit programs:


2020 Annual Income:  Households may qualify based on annual income by submitting their filed 2020 tax return (Form 1040 or 1040EZ).  Households that qualify based on their filed 2020 tax return do not need to submit proof of current monthly income.


Self-Submitted Documents Showing Current Monthly Income:​

  1. ID for Head of Household:
    1. This document will need to include the head of household’s full name and date of birth. Examples include a state issued driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport.
      1. No photo required
      2. Expired IDs will be accepted
  2. Proof of Current Housing
    1. This includes a lease, tenancy agreement or a tenancy at-will form. You can work with your landlord to create a simple tenancy agreement even if you do not have one in place currently. A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant specifying the terms and conditions of the renter's temporary possession of the property, space or room, normally for a short period of time, that automatically renews unless the tenant or landlord ends it by giving written notice.
  3. Verification of Housing Crisis includes:
    • Pre-court rental arrears (at least 1 month required)
    • Eviction (i.e. court summons)
    • Overcrowding (i.e. documentation demonstrating unit too small for household, letter from landlord or primary tenant)
    • Health & safety (demonstrate serious health/safety risk, i.e. failed inspection report)
    • Domestic violence (documentation to support allegation, self-statement from applicant)
    • Fire/flood/natural disaster
    • Utility shutoff/arrears (i.e shutoff notice)
    • Other crisis resulting in loss of housing (documentation demonstrating applicant will be homeless within 30 days
  4. Proof of Income

ALL members of the household must prove income eligibility in ONE of the following ways

  • Public housing (state or federal)​

  • Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)​

  • State housing vouchers: MRVP (Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program), AHVP (Alternative Housing Voucher Program), DMH (Department of Mental Health), or DDS (Department of Developmental Services) housing vouchers​

  • LIHEAP​ (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)

  • Massachusetts subsidized childcare​

  • Veterans Chapter 115 benefits ​

  • Monthly income from work may be verified by two paystubs from the past 60 days for each job

  • Monthly income from other sources may be verified by most recent benefit letters (social security, child support, unemployment, etc.)​

How to apply How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance

Before applying, determine if you are qualified to apply: To qualify for rental assistance in Massachusetts, you must have an income no more than 80 percent of the area median income or AMI (review AMI limits for your community), must be able to prove a financial hardship related to COVID-19, and must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability.

 If you are eligible and have collected your required documentation, you can apply directly through the Central Application.

More info for How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance

Rental Assistance Central Application FAQs

Central Application User Guide

Central Application Portal Guide

Visit this site for resources on the Central Application

Access to free legal help

Regional legal aid programs assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. See for more information or go to to find a legal aid program near you. 

A lawyer can advise you about the law, refer you to resources, fill out and file court papers, and represent you. A lawyer can help advise you before a case gets to court or if a case is in court. The earlier you contact a lawyer the better.

Mediation between you and your landlord

Massachusetts 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.

Mediation is a confidential, voluntary and non-judgmental process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps people resolve differences based on what is important to them.

Contact for How to Apply for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance


24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are free and confidential. Interpreter services are available in multiple languages.