• 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
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    Average income limit for 4-person extremely low income household
    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

    Lindsay Duvall

    Lindsay Duvall

    202.662.1530 x206 | [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

    Rachel Heller, Chief Executive Officer

    [email protected]

    Eric Shupin, Director of Public Policy

    [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:

    Jennifer Maddox


    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

    Annual Action Plans

  • Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: Massachusetts (PDF) (JPG)

    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
    Urge Congress to Enact Historic Housing Investments!
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Increased Investments in Affordable Homes
  • 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). 

    In response to COVID-19 and its economic fallout, many cities and states are creating or expanding rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by the pandemic, and NLIHC is tracking in-depth information on these programs.  

    You can use the interactive map and searchable database to find state and local emergency rental assistance programs near you. You can also see the latest news on rental assistance programs through the state-by-state news tracker. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all rental assistance programs as we continue to update frequently. If you are aware of a program not included in our database, please contact [email protected]

    COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

    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.

    WBUR examines how hotel-based homeless shelters changed lives during the pandemic and highlights efforts to make the non-congregate model the standard for homeless shelters in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance, approximately 1,000 hotel and motel beds have been leased as non-congregate shelter space during the pandemic. About 600 are still in use, paid for with state and federal funds. City officials examined data over a 22-month period that ended in April and found that 46% of people who left local hotel shelters did so to enter permanent housing. By contrast, just 16% of people who stopped staying at the traditional adult homeless shelters in the area left them to enter permanent housing. State Representative Natalie Higgins sponsored a bill that would transition the state away from congregate homeless shelters within five years.

    Updated June 14, 2022

    The Somerville Board of Health approved an extension and sunset date for the city’s eviction moratorium. Otherwise set to expire on April 30, the moratorium now has a 60-day sunset period and will end on June 30. Somerville’s eviction moratorium is the last remaining local eviction moratorium in Massachusetts.

    Updated May 23, 2022

    New regulations on Massachusetts’ emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds went into effect on January 1, prompting housing advocates to demand legislators intervene to prevent displacing renters. The Baker administration altered ERA eligibility by requiring applicants to have at least one month of rental arrears before they qualify for aid. Additionally, recipients seeking to recertify their benefits will need to fall one month behind on rent and then reapply through the same central application they first used. Kelly Turley of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless says the administration moved forward with these changes without consulting lawmakers or asking for additional ERA funds – an unnecessary move that is disruptive to both tenants and landlords.

    Updated on January 30, 2022

    Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will seek a stay to keep a citywide eviction moratorium in effect after a housing court judge on November 29 struck down the policy. The judge stated that the city’s public health commission had overstepped its emergency powers.

    Updated on December 13, 2021

    Housing advocates and renters held a rally outside the Massachusetts state capitol building on October 21, calling on the legislature to restore the statewide eviction moratorium that expired last October. The advocates, who are urging legislators to pass the “COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill” (H1434/S891), say stronger protections are needed as the pandemic and eviction filings continue. Since the bill was heard before the Housing Committee in mid-August, over 24,000 evictions have been filed in court. Learn more about the bill from Homes for All Massachusetts.

    Updated on November 03, 2021

    Acting Mayor Kim Janey and Boston health officials on August 31 announced an eviction moratorium effective immediately. The Boston Public Health Commission will keep the moratorium in place as long as necessary. 

    Eleven tenants interviewed for a WBUR story about evictions on Massachusetts’s south coast said their eviction cases concluded without them ever learning about the federal eviction moratorium. In a review of every eviction case filed in Fall River and New Bedford last February, WBUR found that the CDC moratorium was mentioned in just two of 82 eviction cases against unrepresented tenants, which comprised the vast majority of tenants facing eviction.

    Updated on September 14, 2021

    Renters and social service organizations in Fall River are bracing for a flood of evictions given the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium on July 31. According to court data, landlords in Bristol County have filed 1,363 eviction cases since October, when Massachusetts’ eviction ban was lifted. Judges in Bristol County have already issued 549 executions, more than in any other county in the state.
    Updated on August 3, 2021

    The Boston Globe reports that more than 100 eviction cases against tenants of Georgetowne Homes, one of Boston’s largest privately run affordable housing complexes, will have long-term ramifications. While most cases have been resolved and dismissed due to renters tapping into federal emergency rental assistance, eviction filings have significant consequences.
    Updated on June 28, 2021

    An op-ed in the Boston Globe urges legislators to prevent a wave of evictions and foreclosures with emergency measures based on the COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill. More than 16,000 evictions have been filed in Massachusetts during the pandemic, disproportionately harming low-income renters and people of color. The author emphasizes that extending eviction protections is critical as the state of emergency is set to end. 
    Updated on June 14, 2021

    Massachusetts’ housing advocates, including the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness, have identified seven amendments as priorities for the Senate budget to expand assistance and protections for those at risk of evictions or foreclosures. Amendment No. 371 would extend CDC eviction protections in Massachusetts through the end of 2021.
    Updated on June 4, 2021

    The Baker-Polito Administration announced that more than $400 million in new federal funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act is now available through the Massachusetts COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Initiative. Massachusetts has distributed approximately $80 million in rental assistance to more than 18,000 households since the beginning of the pandemic. Consult the Eviction Diversion Initiative Dashboard for statistics about the program.

    Updated on April 17, 2021

    The Boston Housing Authority extended its eviction moratorium through the end of March, but housing advocates say monthly extensions and legal loopholes do not provide enough stability for Boston’s 25,000 public housing residents. 

    Springfield officials announced they are looking to direct even more funding toward housing services. Way Finders, the Springfield-based nonprofit that administers housing assistance programs in Hampden and Hampshire counties, reports that over 3,000 applications for rental assistance are currently being processed. 

    Updated on March 08, 2021

    The Boston Globe reports that over the last several months, the City of Malden has invested significant resources into staving off evictions, including providing legal aid to tenants, negotiating with large landlords, enacting an eviction moratorium, and tapping federal COVID aid for a city rent relief program. The city has partnered with local social service agencies and received assistance from housing advocates and volunteer groups in helping renters access aid.

    Updated on March 01, 2021

    Despite current federal and state eviction protections, families across Boston and Massachusetts are being forced from their homes as a result of no-fault evictions. City Life/Vida Urbana held a rally outside of a property to protest the “no-fault” evictions of two residents.

    The 22 News I-Team found that Springfield is one of the hardest-hit cities in Massachusetts in terms of eviction filings. According to data from the Massachusetts Trial Court, 60% of Hampden County evictions that have occurred since the statewide moratorium was lifted in October were in Springfield.

    Updated on February 22, 2021

    Cambridge city councilors passed a proposal to rent non-congregate housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. Housing advocates distributed flyers to more than 1,200 households urging residents to give public comment in support of non-congregate shelters.

    Updated on February 17, 2021

    Housing data indicate a dramatic spike in eviction filings since Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expired in October, with more than 6,500 evictions filed statewide in the last three months. A study by the Boston Area Research Initiative found that large corporate landlords are behind the majority of evictions, and many of these larger landlords have not signed the state’s Eviction Diversion Pledge.

    Updated on February 01, 2021

    According to the Patriot Ledger, local nonprofits in Quincy and the surrounding area report that the pandemic has flooded them with requests for assistance from people experiencing job loss, food insecurity, and housing instability.

    Updated on January 25, 2021

    To combat the loss of economic stability for many community members, the Cape Cod Housing Assistance Corporation is offering mortgage and rental assistance.

    Mass Live reports that the Worcester Public School system is preparing to offer additional support to families during the pandemic, as the district has nearly 2,000 students who are currently experiencing homelessness and expects to see more evictions when the federal eviction moratorium expires.

    Residents in 100,000 households across Massachusetts face the risk of eviction if Governor Charlie Baker or the legislature fail to take action. Advocates are urging state legislators to pass the Guaranteed Housing Stability Act, legislation that would protect both renters and small landlords and establish a housing stability and recovery fund.

    Updated on January 15, 2021

    Advocates are concerned that many families experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts are struggling to access state aid during the pandemic. A GBH News review of state records found a significant decrease in the number of families living in, and applying to, state-sponsored shelters or other emergency housing. Advocates point to this as a sign that families are falling through the system’s cracks.

    The Boston Globe reports on the intertwined COVID-19 and housing crises facing the city of Chelsea. A July report by the Boston Foundation found that Chelsea had Massachusetts’ highest rate of overcrowded housing and COVID-19 infections.

    The Boston Globe examines public health officials’ fears that evictions could worsen Massachusetts’ surge in coronavirus cases. Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expired on October 17, and doctors, epidemiologists, and housing advocates are concerned that mass evictions may heighten the rise in coronavirus cases.

    Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on November 14 signed the Housing Stability Notification Act, an ordinance ensuring Bostonians facing eviction know their rights and have access to critical information on available resources. Property owners and constables must provide tenants a document containing information on tenant rights and resources when issuing their tenant a Notice to Quit or Nonrenewal of Lease.

    Updated on November 30, 2020

    Fifty-three Massachusetts property owners and operators signed the “Eviction Diversion Pledge,” making a commitment to keep over 57,000 tenants and families safely housed. The signers of the pledge promise to abide by and support the current CDC eviction moratorium, proactively engage with residents and create payment plans, support and accept rental assistance payments, promote rent adjustments for Section 8/Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program families, and encourage structured and interactive mediation.

    Shelterforce explores how Massachusetts' legislators allowed the statewide eviction moratorium, which was one of the strongest moratoriums in the county, to expire just in time for winter.

    Updated on November 17, 2020

    Dozens of demonstrators rallied outside the Boston Housing Court on October 29 to urge legislators to pass the Guaranteed Housing Stability bill, which would stabilize renters, homeowners, and small landlords for one year. More than 100,000 residents fear eviction after Massachusetts’ eviction and foreclosure moratorium expired on October 17. 

    NPR reports that despite the CDC eviction moratorium, some Boston landlords are pressuring and intimidating tenants, especially immigrant workers, to move out early. Despite federal and state moratoriums, as many as 120,000 people have been forced from their homes during the pandemic. 

    After the state eviction moratorium expired and as the pandemic rages on, Boston officials are adding approximately 200 more beds for people experiencing homelessness in multiple locations in preparation for winter. 

    Updated on November 4, 2020

    Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) called on Governor Charlie Baker to take immediate action and extend the eviction moratorium. “With a stroke of a pen, Governor Baker could prevent the looming eviction tsunami in the Commonwealth this Saturday – or he could fail to act and stand by as thousands of families impacted by the public health crisis and economic fallout lose their homes,” said Representative Pressley.

    Attorney General Maura Healey on October 16 called on Governor Charlie Baker to extend the pandemic eviction moratorium. She applauded the governor’s Eviction Diversion Initiative but urged him to extend the moratorium until the resources under the plan are fully available to all residents. Attorney General Healey also noted that the federal eviction is narrower in scope than the state moratorium was and more complex to qualify for.

    The Metropolitan Area Planning Council estimates 60,000 renter households across Massachusetts fear “imminent eviction” after the state’s eviction moratorium expired on October 17. The housing advocacy group City Life/Vida Urbana estimates the number to be closer to 100,000 renter households.

    Advocates are concerned about the rise in the number of unsheltered women in Boston. Sandy Mariano of Rosie’s Place, a shelter and community center for women, believes there has been a 75% surge in people living unsheltered in Boston, and the rise in the number of women is “clearly observable.”

    Updated on October 26, 2020

    One week before Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium is set to expire, the Baker administration announced a $171 million Eviction Diversion Initiative. The initiative adds $100 million to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition renter and landlord relief program, nearly $50 million for rapid rehousing programs, and $12.3 million for legal aid and community mediation, among other resources.

    WBUR reports housing organizations, tenant advocates, and landlords are urging the Baker administration to allocate more federal dollars for rental assistance. The state’s housing courts are working to add resources to manage an anticipated flood of eviction filings when the moratorium expired on October 17.

    WBUR reports that despite the eviction ban, some landlords are using threats and intimidation to pressure tenants to leave their homes. Unofficial eviction tactics have spiked during the pandemic, especially in communities with high concentrations of working-class immigrants and Spanish speakers.

    Advocates estimate 100,000 Massachusetts residents could face eviction when the state’s moratorium expired on October 17. Several days after Massachusetts announced the $171 million Eviction Diversion Initiative, Governor Charlie Baker said extending the eviction moratorium would merely deepen debt for tenants and landlords.

    Updated on October 19, 2020

    An op-ed in WBUR urges officials to extend the statewide eviction moratorium and provide long-term housing assistance. A state bill, “An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability During the COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery” (H. 4878), would ban evictions due to nonpayment of rent for one year, stabilize rents, prevent “no fault” evictions, establish a relief fund for small landlords, and allow homeowners to defer their mortgage payments until the end of their loan. Read a factsheet about the bill here.

    An article in the Sentinel & Enterprise urges the Massachusetts judiciary to intervene to prevent a potential tsunami of evictions when the state’s temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures expires on October 17. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council urges judicial leaders to delay all non-essential eviction hearings until at least January 1 and asks Governor Charlie Baker to extend the moratorium to the end of the year.

    Updated on October 14, 2020

    Housing advocates in Massachusetts are ramping up pressure on the state legislature to pass a bill that would ban evictions and freeze rents for one year after the end of the COVID-19 emergency. Governor Charlie Baker appears ready to allow the state’s eviction moratorium to expire in two weeks. Advocates estimate the expiration of the moratorium could result in anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 evictions.

    An op-ed in the Boston Globe argues that Massachusetts must extend the state’s eviction moratorium to protect voting rights. The state’s moratorium is set to end on October 17 - just weeks before Election Day.

    Updated on October 5, 2020

    The Boston Herald reports that scarce jobs, childcare, and housing opportunities in Boston due to the COVID-19 pandemic are creating insurmountable barriers for families experiencing homelessness. Service providers warn that the number of people experiencing homelessness will continue to increase.

    Updated on September 22, 2020

    The Harvard Crimson reports that the pandemic is creating enormous challenges for homeless shelters in Cambridge that rely on undergraduate volunteers. 

    At least 70 illegal eviction cases were filed in Massachusetts Housing Court, including 50 that violated the federal eviction moratorium. Some of the evicted tenants only owed several hundred dollars, most lived in the poorest areas of the state, and nearly all lacked legal representation.

    Updated on September 15, 2020

    WBUR reports that nearly 109,000 Massachusetts households will need help paying their September rent and mortgage payments, according to a new study. Renters face the most urgent needs, with 61,000 households across the state in need of $57.2 million a month in housing assistance.

    A Suffolk Superior Court judge denied a request to preliminary block Massachusetts officials from enforcing the state’s eviction moratorium. Judge Paul Wilson referred to stable housing as a “crucial component” of containing COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

    Updated on September 2, 2020.

    More than 654,000 Massachusetts residents either missed their July rent or mortgage payment or feared they wouldn’t pay August, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the commonwealth alone, without continued federal help, homeowners and renters could fall short in their housing payments by $135 million a month, based on data from Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

    Updated on August 19, 2020.

    WGBH discusses Rhode Island’s Safe Harbor Program, a $7 million initiative between the state government and the United Way of Rhode Island to head off evictions through mediation and rental assistance. Massachusetts lawmakers and some landlords say that the initiative is worth exploring as the state awaits additional federal aid.

    Updated on August 11, 2020.

    After Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium was extended through mid-October, Superior Court Judge Paul Wilson heard arguments on July 30 in a lawsuit filed by two Massachusetts landlords to end the moratorium.

    coalition of 10 housing advocacy groups in Boston made one final effort on July 27 to urge lawmakers to lift the ban on rent control, extend the COVID-19 eviction moratorium, and approve four other progressive housing amendments.

    Updated on August 4, 2020.

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended the statewide eviction moratorium until October 17. Housing court administrators estimated that they could be flooded with 20,000 eviction cases when the moratorium was initially set to expire in August.

    Updated on July 28, 2020.

    The Boston Herald reported that Boston’s largest homeless shelter, the Pine Street Inn, announced that it is leasing and operating an entire Best Western Hotel to provide housing for 180 people who had previously been staying in Suffolk University dorm rooms. The organization has a one-year lease for the hotel, and the goal is to use the hotel as a “bridge” towards permanent housing. 

    Updated on July 20, 2020.

    Mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) on July 10 announced that the moratorium on nonessential evictions for BHA residents has been extended through the end of the year. The moratorium applies to BHA public housing residents, but not BHA voucher holders. Massachusetts’ statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium is set to expire on August 18.

    The Ipswich Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board is partnering with Action Inc. to offer short-term rental assistance to eligible residents who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership released a report on locally-funded COVID-19 emergency rental assistance programs.

    Boston magazine examines how the coming eviction crisis is an issue embedded in racial inequity that could contribute to a surge in coronavirus cases, and even a form of voter suppression. 

    Updated on July 13, 2020.

    The Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership released a report on locally-funded COVID-19 emergency rental assistance programs.

    The Boston Globe reports on the ‘tsunami of evictions’ that could push thousands of Massachusetts residents from their homes. A disproportionate number of evictions will impact communities of color.

    Bloomberg CityLab examines why the impending wave of evictions as a result of the coronavirus will disproportionately impact Black renters. The article discusses a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found that eviction cases filed since the start of COVID-19 are overwhelmingly located in majority-Black neighborhoods.

    Representative Mike Connolly and House Housing Chair Kevin Honan filed the “COVID-19 Housing Stability Act” (H.D. 5166). The bill would extend the eviction moratorium for one year, protect small property owners in owner-occupied rental properties, freeze rents at pre-COVID levels, and take additional steps to protect renters and prevent evictions. Read a summary of the bill here.

    A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released on June 28 found that communities of color in Boston are disproportionately impacted by evictions. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, with almost 80% of suspended eviction filings during the moratorium in communities of color.

    Father Bill’s & MainSpring, an organization that runs a downtown Brockton homeless shelter, received a $150,000 donation from a private foundation, which will support efforts to provide shelter and hot meals to more than 200 adults per night during the pandemic. The funds will also enable the organization to continue operating more than 550 permanent supportive housing units and providing shelter to more than 130 families per night.

    Updated on July 7, 2020.

    A piece in the Banker and Tradesman argues that if federal coronavirus relief benefits are not extended, more tenants will be unable to pay rent and owners of multifamily housing may lack the resources to operate the housing they provide. If these owners are unable to pay mortgages and operating costs, the financial health of these affordable housing properties and their ability to house residents is at risk.

    Large tents that were placed in Perkins Park in early April were removed, and approximately 60 individuals who were sheltered inside of them were moved to the Rodeway Inn in Brockton. The motel was rented by Father Bill’s and MainSpring and is being used as a shelter. 

    According to a new poll, many renters in Massachusetts are struggling to afford their monthly rent payments. Experts and housing advocates worry that as the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums expire, Massachusetts faces a new housing crisis that will disproportionately impact economically distressed areas and populations.

    According to a re-housing manager for an adult emergency homeless shelter in Quincy, COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenge of finding housing for adults experiencing homelessness. The pandemic has also highlighted why Massachusetts must take dramatic efforts to tackle homelessness.

    Updated on June 22, 2020.

    A survey found that 29% of Massachusetts’ renters have missed a payment during the pandemic, with younger and nonwhite renters most likely to have fallen behind on rent.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued guidance to protect individuals living in long-term hotels and motels from being removed during the state of emergency. She stated that hotels, motels, and other establishments that are housing at-risk populations, such as people experiencing homelessness, should not force these guests to leave for non-essential reasons during the pandemic.

    Rachel Heller, CEO of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, an NLIHC state partner, wrote an op-ed examining the urgent need for emergency rental assistance to help renters and landlords who have been impacted by the pandemic. Heller discussed the need for a $50 million emergency appropriation for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition in the Massachusetts state budget and large-scale federal rent relief

    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.


    Boston launched a $3 million emergency rental assistance two months ago, and more than 8,000 people have applied for assistance. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will allocate an additional $5 million to the city’s Rental Relief Fund, with the additional funds coming from 50% of Boston’s Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds. The other 50% of the city’s CDBG-CV funds was allocated to small businesses.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    Boston homeless shelter, Pine Street Inn, reported a far lower rate of positive coronavirus tests in its latest round of testing. After testing found a 36% positive rate for the 408 people tested at the shelter in April, city officials have worked with Health Care for the Homeless and the state to test all residents at the city’s emergency shelters.

    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.

    Article TitleLink

    Why We Need Rent Relief Now

    Banker and Tradesman

    Article TitleLink

    Why We Need Rent Relief Now

    Banker & Tradesman

    Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums are rapidly expiring and the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits will end soon; at that time, millions of low-income renters will be at risk of losing their homes. The NLIHC estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the pandemic. This tracker links to news reports of the growing evictions crisis in various cities and states. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of eviction updates.

    With September rent and mortgage payments due in less than a week, nearly 109,000 Massachusetts households will need help to make those payments, a new analysis finds. According to a report by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, unemployed people across the state will need $117 million a month in housing assistance.

    Updated on August 28, 2020.

    More than 654,000 Massachusetts residents either missed their July rent or mortgage payment or feared they wouldn’t pay August, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the commonwealth alone, without continued federal help, homeowners and renters could fall short in their housing payments by $135 million a month, based on data from Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

    Updated: August 12

    The new legislation prohibits evictions at all stages. 

    Updated on August 1, 2020.

    In the third week of July, 17.1% of adults in Massachusetts reported they had missed their previous housing payment or had little confidence they would make their next one on time, according to a weekly survey conducted by the Census. In the same survey, 190,339 renters reported they had not paid their previous rental payment

    Updated: July 29

    During the height of the pandemic, between March 16 and April 13, 602 new eviction cases were filed statewide. According to a weekly survey by the Census, 1 in 5 adults in the state either missed their last housing payment or have little/no confidence of being able to make next month’s housing payment.


    120,000 households in Boston are at risk of being unable to make their housing payments, according to a study by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.  

    June 28

    Updated: July 16

    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.