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COVID-19 DHCD Website

Please use this page as a resource, we will continue updating it with DHCD guidance and information related to our programs.

New Resources for Renters and Homeowners

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.
  • The Division of Banks has also released additional guidance for homeowners and financial institutions regarding foreclosure during the state of emergency. You can find more information on their website

Table of Contents

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program and COVID-19 State of Emergency

The new funding of $5 million enables the RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) program to create a special program for households facing instability as a result of a COVID-19 related housing crisis due to a loss of wages or increase in expenses (e.g., medical expenses). This additional funding will result in approximately 1,667 households impacted by COVID-19 being served.

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 assists households of all sizes and configurations with financial assistance up to $4,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing.

RAFT funding is distributed by our partner Regional Administering Agencies. The websites of the Regional Administering Agencies are below. Please check these websites for information about how to apply for the RAFT program while offices are closed. All offices are operating remotely and will be able to take applications and questions.

Berkshire Housing Development Corporation: berkshirehousing.com
Community Teamwork Inc.: www.commteam.org
Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority: www.fcrhra.org
Housing Assistance Corporation: haconcapecod.org
Way Finders: www.wayfindersma.org
Metro Housing|Boston: www.metrohousingboston.org
RCAP Solutions: www.rcapsolutions.org
South Middlesex Opportunity Council: www.smoc.org
NeighborWorks Housing Solutions: www.nhsmass.org
Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development: www.lhand.org
Central MA Housing Alliance: www.cmhaonline.org

For more information on your Regional Administering Agency and where you can go to apply for RAFT due to the COVID-19 related housing costs based on your community, please visit the HED Fuel site.

Guidance for Private Affordable Housing Operators and Owners

DHCD is urging operators and owners of private, affordable housing to suspend all action on nonemergency evictions during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This guidance also reminds owners and operators that the Massachusetts Housing Court has suspended all non-emergency proceedings during the State of Emergency, and that voucher holders with either project-based vouchers, or mobilevouchers can have their rent re-calculated if there is a loss of income due to the COVID-19 emergency.

DHCD has also issued guidance, in coordination with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and other partners on limiting visitors to multi-unit housing developments, along with an attachment including contact information for local Aging Service Access Point providers. 

Initial guidance can be found below on rent increases during the COVID-19 health emergency with regards to privately owned affordable housing. DHCD expects owners to refrain from raising rents during this period of time.

Additional Resources

Guidance for Rental Voucher Holders and Administering Agencies

The Division of Rental Assistance has issued guidance to administering agencies on rent re-certification, a right for any tenant using the following rental vouchers: MRVP, AHVP, and federal vouchers within DHCD’s portfolio. If you have experienced a loss of income, and utilize one of these vouchers, you can apply at any time to have your rent contribution re-calculated by your administering agency.

Please see further guidance below for administering agencies on the suspension of termination in nonessential circumstances for voucher holders.

Additional Resources

Guidance for Family and Individual Shelter Providers

The Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS) oversees the state’s response to family homelessness, through our Emergency Assistance Program, and provides funding to individual shelters across the Commonwealth.

Please find here the guidance DHCD and DHS has distributed to family and individual shelter providers.

Additional Resources

Guidance on Construction

please see link below

Additional Resources

FAQ for Cities and Towns regarding FEMA Reimbursement for Quarantine/Isolation Solutions

From the guidance: On March 28, 2020 the President issued a Major Disaster Declaration. Under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program within the Major Disaster Declaration, affected local governments will be reimbursed by the Federal Government for 75% of their costs associated with response and emergency protective measures. These costs include housing for homeless individuals and families, and first responders and healthcare workers who need to be quarantined or isolated.

Additional Resources

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