Housing stability is being able to find and maintain stable, safe, and affordable housing. It is a key component of financial security and overall health to all members of a household. Below are resources for both renters and homeowners. For help purchasing and rehabilitating a house, see the Homeowner & Landlord Resources page.
COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance
A full list of these resources can be downloaded on a PDF here: http://archive.northamptonma.gov/WebLink/Browse.aspx?id=696820&dbid=0&repo=CityOfNorthampton
The Baker-Polito Administration has announced an extensive list of resources known as the Eviction Diversion Initiative in response to expiration of the State's eviction moratorium. All residents can access information by simply dialing 211 or by going to the State's website or their FAQ page. The State is offering free legal services to eligible tenants and low-income landlords in owner-occupied 2-3 family homes through the COVID Eviction Legal Help Program (CELHP), go to CELHP website for more information. The information on the site should be taken as legal advice and if you are currently facing eviction, MassAccess has resources to help you understand your rights.
Rent & Utility Assistance for Renters
The City is funding Community Action Pioneer Valley for an Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance Program for eligible households. Eligibility requirements:
- Must be a renter and at least 30 days behind in rent and/or utilities
- Must live in Northampton, Florence or Leeds
- Must have a negative economic impact due to COVID-19
- Total household income must less than 80% of the area median income
- Households must demonstrate a need for assistance, be behind in rent or utilities 30 days or more, and have insufficient income and/or savings to pay their monthly rent
- Households cannot currently be receiving HomeBase or RAFT
- Maximum award per household is $2,200 and can be combined for both rent and utility arrears
For more information and to apply: call Community Action Pioneer Valley 413-475-1570
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) is a short-term financial assistance to low-income families, couples, and individuals who falling behind on their housing payments or are at risk of becoming homeless. This program is funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and can pay for moving cost assistance, rent, utility arrears, rental stipends, mortgage arrears, and utility bills. The income limits are up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). For more information and to make an appointment at the Northampton office, go to Way Finders website.
DHCD is funding other resources administered by Way Finders, such as the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA) for renters, homeowners, and landlords to help them through payments of mortgages and rents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The income limit for that program is between 50-80% AMI. For more information, see Way Finders website.
Legal Resources for Renters
MassLegalHelp is a great resource to educate and support people who are searching for housing, facing foreclosure or eviction, or are experiencing homelessness. Other resources on their site include tenants rights, housing discrimination, and checklists for tenants before a move-in. A by topic list of laws in Massachusetts regarding renters, homeowners, foreclosures, evictions, and many other topics can be viewed on the Mass.gov website.
Housing Search for Renters
The Housing Navigator website is an easy to use search for affordable housing across the state: https://www.housingnavigatorma.org/
Mortgage & Utility Assistance for Homeowners
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a new funding source for tenants and landlords to avoid evictions and maintain household stability throughout the COVID-19 emergency. ERAP is available to households earning less than 80% AMI, and includes enhanced benefits; such as up to 12 months of assistance with past due rent, plus up to 3 months of future rent. Renters may also receive up to $1,500 for overdue utilities accrued after March 13, 2020. Other resources from DHCD for landlords during this time that can be viewed on their website.
Mortgage payment forbearance for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured borrowers has been made available. For more information, please contact your mortgage servicer (who you make payments to). If you cannot contact them, you can get help from a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency by dialing 800-569-4287 or by searching on the HUD website: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/hcc/hcc_home.