RAFT: Residential Assistance for Families in Transition & ERMA: Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance 

The state-funded RAFT & ERMA programs are tools used by the HCEC team to provide eligible households or individuals up to $4,000 per 12-month period that can be used to help keep their housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless. 

The quickest way to start the application process for RAFT/ERMA Assistance is online by using our APPLY ONLINE NOW portal link.

If you are unable to complete the form online, please leave a message on our RAFT hotline at 781.422.4204 and our staff will call back to assist you in the order your message was received.

Please read all qualifications below:

If you have access to documents without leaving your home, please upload pictures of the documents using your smart phone, if possible. If you do not have access to the documents and need additional time, please let us know. 

Who qualifies for RAFT & ERMA? 

  • A household’s income must be at or below 80 percent area median income (AMI). Erma Income Guidelines
  • Households can consist of a single person.  Do not have to have a dependent child or two people.
  • Individuals, families with older children, couples without children, unaccompanied youth, and households of any size. 
  • Household must provide documentation/proof that they are currently experiencing a housing crisis: 
  • For households with rental arrears:Written documentation of rental arrears, demonstration of a financial hardship (reduction in revenue and/or increase in expenses) that caused the nonpayment of rent, and demonstration that payment of the arrears will allow the household to retain their housing. 
  • For households facing eviction: Do not need a summary process, just a notice from your landlord that you are behind (during COVID). Tenants who have a housing subsidy and are facing eviction due to non-payment of rent must also provide proof of financial hardship that explains cause for arrears in order to receive assistance. 
  • For households leaving doubled-up housing: Letter from landlord or primary tenant explaining that the family must leave. This must also include the address, date, and contact name and info of person writing letter.  A copy of new lease or letter of intent to rent for new apartment. 
  • For households leaving unsafe housing: Verification of unsafe housing conditions and copy of new lease/letter of intent to rent for new apartment. 
  • For households facing foreclosure or mortgage arrears: Current mortgage statement and letter from lender indicating that family is at least 30 days in arrears and at risk of foreclosure. 

What can RAFT & ERMA funds be used for? 

RAFT funds can be used for housing-related expenses only. Appropriate uses of funds include, but are not limited to: 

  • Rental or mortgage arrearages 
  • Security deposits
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Utility arrearages

ERMA funds are strictly for rent or mortgage arrears and stipends. We cannot assist people to move or pay utility arrears.

For more information about RAFT and ERMA, contact our HCEC team via email or our RAFT phone line at 781-422-4204 with your questions or to request a callback. If you use our RAFT line, PLEASE leave your full name and phone number slowly and clearly and repeat your phone number to ensure that we can call you back.

Additional Flexibility in Response to COVID-19

In response to the increased need due to COVID-19, DHCD has authorized a series of changes to make RAFT a more effective tool to help address today’s housing crises. The most significant changes include: 

  • Applicants can simply provide a short self-statement (written or verbal) connecting their housing emergency with the COVID-19 crisis. Third-party verification or documentation verifying loss of income is not needed. 
  • If documents are unavailable due to the COVID-19 crisis, applications may be processed without documentation that is normally required. 
  • Applicants may qualify for utility assistance by simply providing a notice of arrears. A shutoff notice is not necessary. 
  • Subsidized applicants may receive RAFT a second time within 24 months but a rent adjustment should be explored first if there has been a loss in income. 
  • Applicants no longer need to be behind on payments to apply. Applicants can provide documentation that COVID-19 has affected their future ability to pay. 
  • Income eligibility will be based on current income. 
  • CARES act payments will not be included in eligible income calculations. 
  • Applicants do not need a notice to quit, court summons, or utility shutoff notice to apply.