Eviction Diversion Initiative: Focused Grassroots Outreach 

A local team of trained community residents helped to spread the word about the state’s emergency housing payment assistance programs, increase awareness of how to submit a complete application for assistance, and improve access to available rent and utilities aid in communities across the Commonwealth through a seventeen-week outreach and media campaign.

Through the Eviction Diversion Initiative, DHCD (now the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities) contracted with Archipelago Strategies Group (ASG) to conduct a focused grassroots outreach campaign about the state’s emergency housing payment assistance programs: the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. Households were able to apply to both programs through a single centralized application.  

To spread the word and connect with households in need of rent or utilities assistance, ASG partnered with community organizations and local residents to implement a three-pronged outreach campaign from October 2021 to January 2022. This included canvassing in communities around the state, a multilingual call center to help households submit complete applications for assistance, and a multilingual, multiplatform media campaign. 

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ASG Grassroots Canvassing Outreach

ASG worked in 22 communities across the state, including Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Somerville, Springfield, and Worcester. DHCD identified these communities through a multi-criteria analysis factoring in numbers of cost burdened and racial/ethnic minority renters, employment in industries hard-hit by COVID-19, and distribution of emergency housing assistance. ASG and its partners canvassed in these 22 communities from October 2021 through January 2022 to provide local residents with vital information on how to access the state’s emergency housing payment assistance programs.   

ASG conducted grassroots outreach with its staff, local residents, and community-based organizations (CBOs) as trusted voices to educate households about the availability of emergency housing payment assistance. ASG sub-contracted with community-based organizations in some regions of the Commonwealth and also worked with volunteer CBO partners to support these efforts.  

ASG Call Center and Media Campaign 

In addition to canvassing, ASG operated a multilingual call center to help households in Massachusetts complete an application for emergency housing payment assistance. ASG Call Center agents provided support in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, with access to a language line with translation/interpretation services for other key linguistic communities. The goal of the ASG Call Center was to assist callers with navigating, filling out, and submitting a complete application with all necessary documentation.  The Call Center operated from Oct. 8, 2021 through February 11, 2022, submitting over 1,100 ERAP applications from communities across the Commonwealth. 

To spread the word about the call center and share information with community residents about available assistance for rent and utilities, ASG launched a multilingual media campaign in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Kriolu, Hatian Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Khmer. The campaign consisted of advertisements on digital media (Google and Facebook), as well as legacy media platforms, local newspapers, and community radio.

Marketing materials for ASG EDI campaign in English
Marketing materials for ASG EDI campaign in Khmer
Marketing materials for ASG EDI campaign in Cape Verdean

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