Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG)

The Emergency Solutions Grant is assists homeless households and households at risk of homelessness by supporting the services necessary to help them quickly regain stable housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act) amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, with major revisions to what is now titled the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. The Emergency Solutions Grant is assists homeless households and households at risk of homelessness by supporting the services necessary to help them quickly regain stable housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

Any person or family in need of emergency shelter is potentially eligible for ESG funded shelter services.

ESG funding is allocated to DHCD on an annual basis. Therefore, the services provided may change each year. Currently, DHCD funds ESG services under the following components:

  • Shelter Support
  • Rapid Re-housing
  • Homelessness Prevention

If you or someone you know is facing a crisis, these programs may be able to help. You can access a list of resources at the bottom of this page or by clicking this list of support providers.

What is Shelter Support?

The Commonwealth, through DHCD, supports a large network of emergency shelter facilities serving over 3,000 homeless families through our Emergency Assistance program (EA) and over 3,000 homeless individuals each night through individual shelter providers. The MA non-entitlement ESG allocation supports these efforts. All shelters receiving ESG funding must be able to keep a family in need of emergency shelter intact, including 18 year old male family members, and must accept any family or individual in need of emergency shelter provided that the head of household agrees to:

  • Comply with basic safety shelter rules; and
  • Work with staff to develop and comply with a rapid re-housing plan

ESG funding may be used to assist with the costs of creating and/or operating new or unfunded emergency shelter beds or rooms for homeless individuals or families in high need areas.  DHCD does not currently fund the cost of rehabilitation of shelter facilities.

Who is eligible for Shelter Support?

Any person or family in need of emergency shelter is potentially eligible for ESG funded shelter services.

How Can Shelters Funded by ESG Be Accessed?

Households in need of emergency shelter funded through ESG must contact the shelter provider directly to access shelter services. While no household in need should be turned away due to eligibility, shelters, specifically non-EA family and DV shelter providers, may be at capacity and unable to provide shelter at the time of intake.  You can find a shelter in your community by entering the name of your town in this Service Provider Search Tool.  

What Is Rapid Re-Housing?

DHCD currently allocates funding to service providers operating homelessness prevention program. ESG homelessness prevention services are intended to assist households at imminent risk of becoming literally homeless according to HUD’s definition. Services funded under this component may include financial assistance and follow-up services to assist households with maintaining their housing as necessary to prevent homelessness.

Who is eligible?

  1. Households must have income below 30% of the applicable Area Median Income (AMI) at time of intake; and
  2. Must meets HUD’s definition for at-risk of homelessness or meet the criteria in paragraph 2, 3, or 4 of HUD’s definition for literally homeless; and
  3. Must lack resources and/or support networks, e.g., family, friends, faith-based or other social networks, necessary to prevent homelessness

How Can Homelessness Prevention Be Accessed?

Households in need of prevention assistance should contact the prevention provider in the area in which they reside to complete an intake and application. Additionally, housing court advocates may be able to complete a referral and/or ESG intake. Follow the link for a list of service providers.

What Is Homelessness Prevention?

What Is Homelessness Prevention?

DHCD currently allocates funding to service providers operating homelessness prevention program. ESG homelessness prevention services are intended to assist households at imminent risk of becoming literally homeless according to HUD’s definition. Services funded under this component may include financial assistance and follow-up services to assist households with maintaining their housing as necessary to prevent homelessness.

Who is eligible?

  1. Households must have income below 30% of the applicable Area Median Income (AMI) at time of intake; and
  2. Must meets HUD’s definition for at-risk of homelessness or meet the criteria in paragraph 2, 3, or 4 of HUD’s definition for literally homeless; and
  3. Must lack resources and/or support networks, e.g., family, friends, faith-based or other social networks, necessary to prevent homelessness

How Can Homelessness Prevention Be Accessed?

Households in need of prevention assistance should contact the prevention provider in the area in which they reside to complete an intake and application. Additionally, housing court advocates may be able to complete a referral and/or ESG intake. Follow the link for a list of service providers.

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