RAFT

Last updated September 25, 2019

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Homelessness Prevention Program

** DHCD is now administering an upstream rent arrearage homelessness prevention pilot program within RAFT. Similar to our recommendations, $4.7 million has been set aside this year to help households who have fallen behind on their rent, but have not yet gone to court for eviction. See DHCD's upstream RAFT flyer (PDF) and below for more details.**


If you and your household are at imminent risk of homelessness, you may be eligible for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), a state-funded homelessness prevention program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

For state fiscal year 2020, which will run from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020, the RAFT program is funded at $21 million, with a requirement from the Legislature that at least $3 million be used to assist elders, unaccompanied youth, people with disabilities, and other households without children under the age of 21. The balance will be used to serve families with children under 21.

The program is targeted to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income, with at least 50% of the funds reserved for households at or below 30% of area median income. To see if your household meets the income eligibility limits, see the 2019 area median income limits issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. First, click on the box for FY 2019 IL documentation, then select Massachusetts as the state, and then select the relevant choice under county. (The list is alphabetical by city/town with county information included.) To get a general sense of the income limits in various regions of the state, please see the 2019 statewide area median income charts below and here (PDF). Note on using the charts: These charts directly are related to federal housing programs, but the numbers also apply to RAFT. See the figures labeled "extr[emely] low income" to see if your income is at or below 30% of the area median income for your household size, and the figures labeled "very low income" to see if your income is at or below 50% of the area median income for your household size.


If you are eligible for RAFT, you may receive up to $4,000 in benefits in a 12-month period to pay for expenses to avoid homelessness or rapidly exit homelessness. Families who have received funding from the HomeBASE program or are looking to receive HomeBASE funding can access a maximum of $10,000 from the two programs combined.

DHCD's new RAFT administrative plan for FY'20 is available here. The plan includes details on an upstream rent arrearage homelessness prevention pilot program. Similar to our budget recommendations, $4.7 million has been set aside this year to help households who have fallen behind on their rent, but have not yet gone to court for eviction. See page 4 of the plan and the DHCD flyer (PDF) for more details.

RAFT is administered by a network of eleven regional providers. Here is the list of providers and where they are located. ** Please contact them directly to apply for benefits.**
For more information about our fiscal year 2020 and 2021 budget campaigns to maintain expanded access and increase funding for RAFT, please go to our present policy campaigns page or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For general information about RAFT, check out the state's RAFT information page.

2019 hud ami page 1


  2019 hud ami page 2Information from previous fiscal years:

FY'19: DHCD's FY'19 RAFT administrative plan/program guidance (PDF) is here, with many details about program benefits and rules. For state fiscal year 2019, which ran from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019, the RAFT program was funded at $20 million, with a requirement from the Legislature that at least $3 million be used to assist elders, unaccompanied youth, people with disabilities, and other households without children under the age of 21. The balance was used to serve families with children under 21. The program was targeted to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income, with at least 50% of the funds reserved for households at or below 30% of area median income.

FY'18: The FY'18 statewide and regional reports on how RAFT funds were used are now posted on the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts blog, Network Notes. For state fiscal year 2018, which ran from July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018, RAFT was funded at $15 million. Governor Baker initially had vetoed $2 million in RAFT funding, as well as language that would allow RAFT to continue to serve other types of families, including elders, unaccompanied youth, and people with disabilities, but the Legislature overrode the veto. From February - June 2018, FY'18 funds were available to all household types (families with children under the age of 21, pregnant people, elders, unaccompanied youth, people with disabilities, and other households without minor children) with incomes at or below 50% of area median income, with at least 50% of the funds for families at or below 30% of area median income.

FY'17: The FY'17 statewide report on how RAFT funds were used can be found here, and regional reports are posted here.