• State Data Overview

    Across Massachusetts, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

    Renter households that are extremely low income
    Maximum income for 4-person extremely low income household (state level)
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    Annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD's Fair Market Rent.
    Percent of extremely low income renter households with severe cost burden
  • State Level Partners

    NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer

    Tori Bourret

    Tori Bourret

    202.662.1530 x244 | [email protected]

    State Partners

    Citizens' Housing and Planning Association

    One Beach Street, 5th Floor,

    Boston, MA 02108

    P 617-742-0820

    F 617-742-3953

    Ms. Rachel Heller, Chief Executive Officer

    [email protected]

    Become an NLIHC State Partner

    NLIHC’s affiliation with our state coalition partners is central to our advocacy efforts. Although our partners' involvement varies, they are all housing and homeless advocacy organizations engaged at the state and federal level. Many are traditional coalitions with a range of members; others are local organizations that serve more informally as NLIHC's point of contact.

    Inquire about becoming a state partner by contacting [email protected]

    Become a Member
  • Housing Trust Fund
    HTF Implementation Information

    NLIHC continues working with leaders in each state and the District of Columbia who will mobilize advocates in support of HTF allocation plans that benefit ELI renters to the greatest extent possible. Please contact the point person coordinating with NLIHC in your state (below) to find out about the public participation process and how you can be involved. Email Tori Bourret with any questions.

    NHTF logo
    Current Year HTF Allocation
    NLIHC Point Person for HTF Advocacy

    Eric Shupin

    Director of Public Policy

    Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association


    [email protected]

    State Designated Entity:

    Janelle Chan


    Department of Housing and Community Development


    [email protected]

    Official Directly Involved with HTF Implementation:

    Catherine Racer

    Associate Director, DHCD


    [email protected]

    Alana Murphy

    Deputy Associate Director


    [email protected]

    Bronia Clifton

    Supportive Housing Manager


    [email protected]

    State Entity Webpage

    Housing and Community Development

    NHTF-specific page

    National Housing Trust Fund

  • Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: Massachusetts (PDF)

    Congressional District Housing Profile

    Congressional District Profile: Massachusetts (PDF)

    Research and Data

    National Housing Preservation Database

    The National Housing Preservation Database is an address-level inventory of federally assisted rental housing in the United States.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

    Out of Reach documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In Massachusetts and Nationwide

    The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes

    The Gap represents data on the affordable housing supply and housing cost burdens at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. In Massachusetts and Nationwide

  • Take Action
    Tell Congress to Protect and Expand the National Housing Trust Fund
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Strong Support for Affordable Housing Programs
    Tell Congress that Opportunity Zones Must Benefit Low Income People and Long-Term Residents
  • COVID-19 Resources
    COVID-19 Resources

    NLIHC has estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state (download Excel spreadsheet). 

    Many cities and states are establishing rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. This tracker links to news reports of various city, state and philanthropic rental assistance programs that are being established during the pandemic. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of rental assistance.

    BostonMayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday announced that his Administration is dedicating $3 million in city funds to assist Bostonians who are at risk of losing their rental housing due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
    CambridgeMayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale activated the $3.3 million Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund on March 19, 2020 to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing financial hardship due to the virus outbreak. Funds will be allocated for rent and/or utility payments and other household needs.
    WilliamstownThe board of the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust will partner with Pittsfield's Berkshire Housing Development Corp. on an emergency rental assistance program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents of rental properties in Williamstown who make 100 percent or below the area median income and have "suffered financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic" will be eligible for grants would ranging from $500 to $1,000.
    NewtonThe Newton City Council approved putting $2 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) money into the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program to help those in need. The account will have $2.5 million total – the $2 million in just-approved CPA funds and an additional $500,000 in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

    Across the country, homeless service providers are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to follow public health guidelines and help ensure people’s safety, some shelters are being forced to reduce services, restrict admittance, or close entirely. The loss of these critical resources puts people experiencing homelessness at even higher risk of illness. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of shelter closings.

    Below is a list of shelters that have had to majorly alter services or completely close:

    Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, which is typically run by students and volunteers closed on March 29, several weeks earlier than planned.

    Over 900 beds across Boston have been added to reduce the density in the city’s homeless shelters and to treat people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Boston Hope is a temporary shelter opened at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center that has 500 bed dedicated to people experiencing homelessness. Boston has also built quarantine and treatment centers next to its largest shelters. 

    WBUR released a segment on Boston Hope, a respite shelter for people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Approximately 300 people experiencing homelessness have stayed at the shelter since the field hospital opened almost a month ago. 

    Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that the city will move forward with universal testing for all people experiencing homelessness. Boston has secured an additional 1,000 tests, which will allow public health officials to test all clients in the city’s shelter system over the next two weeks.

    WBUR interviewed leadership and staff of St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in Boston. For workers in Boston shelters, the need for universal testing is urgent and personal.

    Boston Medical Center and others have opened expanded services for people experiencing homelessness who need time and space to heal and recuperate. More than one in eight of Boston Medical Center’s coronavirus patients are people experiencing homelessness. 

    On April 20, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Baker signed the eviction and foreclosure moratorium bill (H.4647) – creating some of the strongest protections for tenants and homeowners in the nation. For tenants, the law temporarily halts all stages of most evictions. For homeowners, the law temporarily stops foreclosures and requires lenders to offer mortgage forbearance for those affected by COVID-19.

    The Baker-Polito Administration announced its ongoing strategy to address homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17. The Administration’s strategy involves five key initiatives, including opening isolation and recovery sites for people experiencing homelessness who test positive for COVID-19 and expediting personal protective equipment distribution to shelters.

    John Yazwinski, president and CEO of a nonprofit that operates homeless shelters in Quincy and Brockton, discussed his organization’s strategy to depopulate its shelters and expressed the need for a statewide shelter plan during COVID-19.

    Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill blocking all eviction and foreclosure proceedings in the state for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

    In Boston, over 140 homeless individuals at The Pine Street Inn shelter tested positive for the coronavirus without showing any symptoms. The asymptomatic homeless persons were confirmed following a small cluster of case of the virus last week, prompting the testing of 397 people at the shelter.

    As advocates for homeless people in Boston assist those who are COVID-19 positive and prepare for more cases, they face challenges unique to the population they’re working with. Jim O’Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, called it a “tricky” situation, especially when faced with people who may test positive for the virus, but aren’t showing symptoms.


    Coronavirus testing of people experiencing homelessness in Boston revealed that larger, more crowded shelters are seeing higher rates of infection. The testing also revealed high rates of asymptomatic spread of the virus.

    The homeless community in Boston is experiencing a significant increase in coronavirus cases. About 30% of the city’s homeless population is confirmed as having COVID-19.

    One in three of Boston’s homeless population have tested positive for coronavirus. According to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the city is quickly expanding the number of available beds, including as many as 500 beds for people who are homeless at the Boston Convention Center. 

    To prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus cases this month, Boston leaders are setting up a new medical center for COVID-19 patients at the Boston convention center. The facility will have 1,000 beds, six acute care suites, 52 nurse stations, 48 bathroom facilities, and a physical therapy suite, according to the city. Half of the beds will be reserved for people experiencing homelessness who have “tested positive for the virus and need care, but not full hospitalization,” city officials wrote.


    In Salem, shelters and homes for those affected by coronavirus are just about ready at Salem State University and the Salem High School field house. Meanwhile, city officials are also looking for property owners with vacant apartments to make the spaces available to those in need.

    No information at this time.

    COVID-19 Resources Other

    State and Local Resources

    Massachusetts Department of Public Health: COVID-19 and Homelessness: The Massachusetts Response

    National Media

    What to Know About Housing and Rent During the COVID-19 Emergency?

    Arbor Realty Trust launched an innovative $2 million rental assistance program to help thousands of tenants and families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Arbor is contributing $1 million to the program and participating borrowers will match Arbor's advances to its tenants in need to help fill the rent gap during the hard-hit months of May and June. Together, the partnership program will provide $2 million in relief.