A growing number of households in Massachusetts are feeling the costly impacts of inflation and rising housing costs.
In June, the state distributed an estimated $14.4 million to residents through its Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program, a 147% increase from May.
State data shows that 4,810 households were served in June, compared to 2,091 households in May.
The average amount of rental assistance awarded per household in Massachusetts is $3,840.
As more residents are feeling the financial pinch of the economy and are seeking assistance, here’s a look at the state’s RAFT program and how to apply.
What is the RAFT program?
State officials say the RAFT program was created to provide short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The program aims to help keep Massachusetts residents in stable housing when they are facing eviction, loss of utilities, or a host of other housing emergencies.
RAFT can provide households up to a maximum of $7,000 within a 12-month period to help preserve current housing or move to new housing.
Since the start of the 2022 fiscal year, the RAFT program has distributed $48.8 million to Massachusetts residents. State data shows that more than 2,300 households in Springfield and 2,100 in Boston received rental assistance.
Who is eligible for RAFT?
Massachusetts residents seeking assistance must meet certain criteria to be eligible for financial assistance through the RAFT program.
Applicants must be at-risk of being homeless, such as being at least one month behind on rent, currently renting or moving to a new rental home.
Applicants must also verify that their household income is at or below 50% of Area Median Income or 60% for those is domestic violence situations.
How to apply for RAFT rental assistance
Massachusetts resident seeking rental assistance can do so online, which will help expedite the process.
Program officials say that if the application is approved, fund will be paid directly to landlords or utility providers.
Click here for a list of documents needed to apply and for a step-by-step guide on how to submit an online application.