RAFT Public Resource and Training Portal

Trainings, reference guides, and other resources are available for community-based organizations and other partners with information about state programs intended to help prevent evictions and preserve housing stability in Massachusetts.

Below you can find up-to-date information and online trainings about the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program, including guides on how to use the online application and how to help applicants submit a complete application.  It is very important that applicants submit complete applications with required documentation.

On this page you can also find information on other programs, such as legal services and mediation.

If you are looking for emergency help for housing costs, please visit our "How to apply for RAFT" page.


Table of Contents


Massachusetts Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal

EOHLC has an online application system for RAFT across eleven regions served by the Regional Administering Agencies (RAAs).  If you are working on an application in one of the regions, please find user guides to help you with the process below:

Landlord Portal Reference Guide

Tenant Portal Reference Guide

Landlord FAQs for Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal

RAFT Program FAQs

What is the wait time for a RAFT application to go through?

The processing time depends on how complete the application and documentation are, but the average time is just under one month.

What if a household applied for RAFT and is awaiting approval but the landlord doesn’t do the landlord application?

Once a household submits an application, the landlord will receive email reminders that their tenant has applied and that they need to complete the landlord application.  If the landlord does not complete the landlord application, the household’s application will be timed out after 21 days.  Landlords should be made aware that failure to participate may violate fair housing law and may result in a tenant filing a complaint at a state or local fair housing agency.

Who can I contact if I have specific questions on a case?

Your local Regional Administering Agency (RAA) is the best point of contact for case questions.  You can find their contact information here: https://hedfuel.azurewebsites.net/raa.aspx

If a tenant owes more than $7,000 in rent, will RAFT automatically deny their application?

The tenant will not be denied automatically but will be required to provide a plan for the remaining balance such as a balance repayment agreement signed by both the landlord and the tenant.

How current does rent arrearage documentation need to be?

Rent ledgers, Notices to Quit, etc. need to be current enough to show the amount being requested, and Notices to Quit need to be within 90 days.

What document do you need to provide if someone has been living in an apartment and has never signed a lease but needs assistance with rent?

If there is no lease or tenancy at will agreement in place, the legal property owner (or property manager designated by the owner) may provide a written verification of the tenancy.

Can tenants in subsidized housing apply for rental assistance multiple times within the same 12-month award cycle if the total amount owed is under the $7,000 benefit cap?

Tenants with income-based rental subsidies cannot receive assistance for more than six months of rent arrears in a rolling 12-month period, and RAFT can only cover months where there is a housing crisis and verifiable good cause for nonpayment of the subsidized rent.

Can current residents of public or subsidized housing apply for start-up costs assistance (first/last month’s rent, security deposit, moving)?

Yes, if they have an eligible housing crisis such as being evicted from the public housing unit.

Can a person apply to RAFT for start-up costs assistance even though they have not identified a potential unit?

Yes, they can apply through the Letter of Intent process, which is a type of rental assistance application for tenants who plan to move within 60 days but don’t know exactly where they will be living.  Tenants who have been found eligible will be given a Letter of Intent, which confirms they are eligible for start-up costs assistance.  An eligible tenant will have 60 days to find a unit with an automatic 30-day extension.  When the tenant finds a unit, they must log back into the application portal and provide details about the new unit by submitting a RAFT application.  The new landlord will need to complete a landlord application as well, but the tenant’s eligibility does not need to be checked again.     

Does RAFT cover rental application fees for households looking to move?

RAFT does not cover rental application fees because landlords cannot charge application fees in Massachusetts under MGL c. 186, § 15B.

Can RAFT assistance be used to buy furniture?

Yes, if the household is experiencing an eligible housing crisis, RAFT can pay for furniture for the new unit.  The limit for furniture payments is $1,000.

Will RAFT pay for phone or internet services if the household is at risk of shutoff?

No.  For utilities, RAFT only covers gas, electricity, water, and deliverable fuel such as propane or oil.

How would a household submit a RAFT application for oil?  

They would apply through the usual RAFT application, which has a question that asks if the household is looking for utility assistance.  The Regional Administering Agency (RAA) that is processing the application will work with the oil provider directly for the required information.

Are homeowners who got mortgage assistance in the past from the Massachusetts Homeowner Assistance Fund (Mass HAF) eligible for RAFT?

Yes, homeowners who received assistance from Mass HAF are eligible for RAFT.  Mass HAF payments do not count towards RAFT eligibility. 

Legal Help and Community Mediation Resources

Date published: November 3, 2020
Last updated: March 28, 2024

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