COVID-19 Affordable Housing Updates

Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.

CHAPA is holding weekly Affordable Housing Coronavirus Response virtual meetings on Fridays at 2:30 PM EST. Please see our events calendar to register for the next meeting. Notes from previous meetings can be found below:

For the most updated information on the state's response to COVID-19, visit the Mass.Gov Coronavirus website.


State Updates

Governor Baker Extends Non-Essential Business Closure Through May 4 - 3/31/2020
On March 31, Governor Baker extended the order requiring non-essential businesses to close their physical locations to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The order, which began a week ago, on March 24, was set to expire at noon on April 7. The new order goes until May 4. The order still does not apply to essential businesses and workers, which includes housing construction. Baker said the state would be issuing an updated list of businesses and organizations considered essential. For more information, visit:


Boston Housing Authority to Provide Subsidized Housing for 1,000 Boston Public School Families at Risk of Displacement - 3/30/2020
On March 30, Mayor Walsh announced the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) are creating a new partnership to house up to 1,000 families with BPS students at risk of displacement and experiencing homelessness over the next year. The BHA will house up to 500 families living in shelters through the State's Leading the Way Home program, a partnership between the BHA and the State network of family shelters in which the BHA issues vouchers to displaced Boston families in shelter. The other 500 vouchers will be provided to families who are in precarious situations that lack necessary stability or could easily lead to displacement. Outreach to get families into the application process will begin immediately to expand housing support for Bostonians during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. For the Mayor's announcement, visit:


Somerville Enacts Eviction Moratorium - 3/28/2020
On March 28, Mayor urtatone and the Somerville Board of Health announced an Emergency Order Establishing a Moratorium on Eviction Enforcement in the City of Somerville for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The order, which applies to both residential and commercial evictions and goes into effect immediately, prohibits the physical act of eviction within the city limits so as to provide for the health, safety and stability of those who live in and serve our community. It also includes orders that the in-person showing of rental units to prospective new tenants or others, as well as any other non-emergency entry, shall cease during the emergency. To read the Emergency Order, visit:


Massachusetts Dedicates Former Hospital for Shelter, Treatment of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness - 3/26/2020
On March 26, Governor Baker announced that a former Boston Medical Center hospital building will be temporarily reopened and used to meet COVID-19 related medical needs of area residents who are experiencing homelessness. The building, known as Newton Pavilion, is currently owned by the Commonwealth.The new facility will be operated by a consortium of providers, including Boston Medical Center, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, shelters including the Pine Street Inn, and the City of Boston’s COVID-19 response team. Capacity of the facility can grow with demand to 250 beds, marking a significant increase in clinical capacity to treat homeless individuals who contract COVID-19. For the Governor's press release, visit:


DHCD Launches COVID-19 Response Website - 3/26/2020
On March 26, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) launched a COVID-19 response website. The page contains information on affordable housing resources and updates with DHCD guidance and information related to its programs in response to COVID-19. To access the site, click here:


Governor Announces Measures to Promote Housing Stability - 3/26/2020
On March 26, Governor Baker announced steps to keep vulnerable families in their homes, preserve the health and safety of low-income renters and homeowners, and prevent homelessness due to reduced or lost income. These steps include the following:

  • DHCD is temporarily suspend terminations of federal and state rental vouchers under their purview.
  • $5 million from MassHousing will be made available to a COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) fund to assist families facing rent insecurity.
  • The Division of Banks (DOB) issued new guidance to Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders urging them to provide relief for borrowers and will advocate for a 60-day stay on behalf of all homeowners facing imminent foreclosure on their homes.
  • DHCD issued guidance recommending that all owners of state aided low-income housing, including Local Housing Authorities and private owners, suspend both pending non-essential evictions and the filing of any new non-essential evictions.
  • Affordable housing operators are urged to suspend non-essential evictions for loss of income or employment circumstances resulting in a tenant’s inability to make rent.
  • This guidance urges operators to establish reasonable payment plans, notify Section 8 or public housing residents about interim income recertification to adjust rent payments, and to consider offering relief funding for residents ineligible for income reassessment.

Read the Governor's press release here:


Governor Orders All Non-Essential Businesses to Close - 3/23/2020
On March 23, Governor Baker issued an Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. Click here for the Governor's announcement. Housing construction is included as an essential service. For a complete list of essential businesses in Massachusetts, visit:


MPHA's Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity Announces Urgent Policy Recommendations - 3/20/2020
On March 20, the Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity released urgent action from Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, and the Legislature on four state policy priorities to address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus outbreak on communities already experiencing marginalization, including low-wage workers, immigrants, and people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. See the Task Force's Policy Recommendations here:


City of Cambridge Announces Construction Halt - 3/18/2020
On March 18, the City of Cambridge instituted a Temporary Emergency Construction Moratorium on all construction activity on both public and private property until further notice. This is being done to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and safeguard the health of construction workers and all other workers associated with the construction industry as well as members of the public. For more information, visit:


Mayor Walsh Announces Halt on Construction in Boston - 3/16/2020
On March 16, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh suspended all regular activity at construction sites in Boston. The only work that will be permitted moving forward will be emergency work, which will need to be approved by the City of Boston's Inspectional Services Department. This policy is effective as of March 17 and will be reviewed at regular intervals. For more information, visit:


Governor Baker Files Legislation Regarding Waiver of One Week Waiting Period for Unemployment Benefits - 3/16/2020
On March 16, Governor Baker filed a bill entitled "An Act Authorizing Waiver of the One Week Waiting Period for Unemployment Benefits." This legislation will provide immediate financial relief to persons experiencing income loss as a result of COVID-19. Learn more about this and other filings here:


Massachusetts Creates Small Business Recovery Loan Fund - 3/15/2020
On March 15, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the creation of a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation will receive and process all applications for this fund. More information and applications can be found at:


Massachusetts Housing Court Places Hold on All Non-Emergency Eviction Cases - 3/14/2020
On March 14, the Massachusetts Housing Court placed a hold on all non-emergency eviction cases until April 21, 2020. However, a party may seek to advance its case, upon filing a motion with the court and by making a showing of good cause. The Housing Court also encourages parties to settle cases by out-of-court agreements. To read the court order, click here.


Boston Announces Partnership with Private Owners to Impose Moratorium on Evictions - 3/14/2020
On March 14, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a partnership with private owners and managers to impose a moratorium on evictions while Massachusetts is under the COVID-19 emergency declaration. The partnership included the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and its entity the Massachusetts Apartment Association. Currently, the following have agreed to the moratorium: Trinity Financial, Winn Residential, The Community Builders, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Maloney Properties, and Cruz. For the Mayor's press release, visit:


Department of Public Utilities Orders Moratorium on Utility Shut Offs - 3/13/2020
On March 13, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued a moratorium on the shutting off of residential utilities while the COVID-19 state of emergency remains declared. To read DPU's moratorium letter to National Grid and Eversource, visit:


Reps. Honan & Connolly File Bill to Create an Emergency Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures - 3/13/2020
On March 13, 2020, Reps. Kevin Honan and Mike Connolly filed legislation (H.4935) that would place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. Read the text of the bill here:


Governor Baker Issues Executive Order Modifying Open Meeting Laws - 3/13/2020
On March 12, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order modifying certain requirements of the Open Meeting Law, to enable public bodies to carry out their responsibilities while adhering to public health recommendations regarding social distancing. Learn more here:

Boston Housing Authority Suspends All Non-Essential Evictions - 3/12/2020
On March 12, the Boston Housing Authority announced it would suspend filing and pursuing of all non-essential evictions. The BHA defines non-essential cases to be nonpayment and cause cases that do not involve or include allegations of criminal activity or lease violations that impact the health or safety of BHA residents or employees and/or the general public. BHA intends to impose this suspension for the duration of the state of emergency.

$15 Million Budget Bill for COVID-19 Response Signed - 3/12/2020
On the evening of March 12, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a $15 million coronavirus response budget bill (H.4561) that the Legislature hurried to his desk in the afternoon. Much of the money is expected to be directed into communities for first responders and local boards of health. To read the text of the bill visit:


National Updates

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition website here: 

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Phase 3 COVID-19 Funding Package - 3/25/2020

On March 25, 2020, the Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion funding package to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and provide relief to the economy. The bill includes $12.4 billion in funding for housing and homelessness including:

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants
  • $4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants
  • $1.25 billion for Tenant Based Rental Assistance
  • $1 billion for Project Based Rental Assistance
  • $685 million for Public Housing Operating Costs
  • $50 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly
  • $15 million for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities

FHFA Announces Eviction Protections for Renters through Mortgage Forbearance for Multifamily Property Owners - 3/23/2020

On March 23, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a press release stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will begin offering mortgage forbearance to multifamily property owners on the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters who can’t pay their rent because of COVID-19. This move protects renters from being evicted if they’re unable to pay their rent and property owners who are unable to pay their mortgages due to the impact of the COVID-19. 


Senate Republicans Release $1 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Package - 3/19/2020

On March 19, 2020, Senate Republicans released the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). This $1 trillion stimulus package includes up to $1,200 in direct payments to individuals who make up to $75,000, loan guarantees for small businesses, assistance for impacted industries (such as airlines), and additional funding for the development and testing of potential vaccines. Senator Mitch McConnell advised that the proposal would be negotiated with Senate Democrats on Friday March 20th.


CBPP Releases COVID-19 Response Recommendations - 3/19/2020

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a paper outlining its policy recommendations for combating the COVID-19 emergency. CBPP’s proposal includes over $2 billion for housing including:

•    $1 billion for Housing Choice Voucher renewal funds
•    $100 million for Voucher administrative funds
•    $500 million for Public Housing operating funds 
•    $450 million for Subsidized Housing support funding
•    $100 million for Rural Housing support funding


FHFA Suspends Evictions and Foreclosures for Evictions and Foreclosures for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages - 3/18/2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage.


President Trump Orders HUD to Suspend All Evictions and Foreclosures - 3/18/2020

On March 18, 2020, President Trump announced at a press conference that he has directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend evictions and foreclosures through April. This move will provide many Americans with housing stability as many workers deal with the economic effects of COVID-19.

Update (3/18/20): In a press release issued later in the day, HUD clarified that the Administration only authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. The moratorium only applies to single-family properties with FHA insurance. 


Senate Democrats Propose $750 Billion COVID-19 Aid Package - 3/16/2020
On March 16, 2020, the Senate is prepared to return to Capitol Hill from a weekend recess to take up the Families First Coronavirus Response bill.

On the same day, Senate Democrats released a proposal that includes at least $750 billion to boost hospital capacity, unemployment insurance, and other direct aid for American households and businesses. Last week senate democrats outlined their proposal that included many of the recommendations drafted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, including:  

  • Emergency Rental Assistance - Individuals struggling to pay rent and utility payments would be eligible for rental and eviction prevention assistance.
  • Emergency Mortgage Assistance - For borrowers whose incomes have not rebounded or who are behind on payments and cannot catch up at the end of the forbearance, we also propose additional mortgage payment assistance, reinstatement assistance, housing counseling, and legal assistance.
  • Supplemental Support for Federal Housing - Provide supplemental financial assistance directly to housing authorities, housing assistance providers, and homelessness service organizations to ensure resident safety and maintain housing in the face of declining resident incomes and assist vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.


U.S. House of Representatives Passes Emergency COVID-19 Funding Package - 3/14/2020
On March 14, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201). This bill includes the following:    

  • Free COVID-19 Testing
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance – Allocates $2 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.
  • Expanded Food Assistance – Allocates $1 billion to emergency food assistance programs including SNAP and WIC:
    • Emergency allotments to 450,000 SNAP households in MA includes up to the max monthly SNAP benefit amount for the household size (eg. $194 for 1 person, $355 for 2 people, etc).
    • Supplemental benefits for kids who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
    • Flexibility for WIC and the School Meals and Summer Food Service Programs. 
  • Paid Emergency Leave – Creates a new federal emergency paid leave program for those unable to work due to COVID-19. Eligible workers would receive two-thirds of their average monthly earnings for a month.
  • Paid Sick Days – Gives workers 14 says of paid sick leave available immediately. Also, reimburses small businesses for these costs.

Missing: The House bill does not include funding specifically allocated for housing or homeless assistance.

Update (3/18/20): The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by a vote of 90-8. President Trump signed the ~$100 billion funding package immediately following its passage. A summary of the law can be found here.


President Trump Signs Initial COVID-19 Funding Package - 3/6/2020
On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R.6074). This $8.3 billion funding package includes the following:  

  • $3.1 billion Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services – in part to buy medical supplies. $100 million of which is for community health centers for underserved groups.
  • $950 million in grants to states and localities for public health response that's to be dispersed via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • $826 million for developing COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.
  • $300 million to purchase vaccines and treatments once they’re approved.
  • The final $1.25 billion for international activities

Missing: This law does not include funding specifically allocated for housing or homeless assistance.


Housing Resources

Massachusetts Resources

Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.

Guidance from Department of Housing & Community Development

Guidance & Best Practices

Tenant Rights


Federal Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Main CDC COVID-19 Website:

Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

Other Federal Agencies


Non-Housing Resources

Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.


City of Boston COVID-19 Information Page
Information page from the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission on the city's COVID-19 response:


Cash Assistance

DTA Benefits

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offices will be closed to the public until at least April 3rd, so families and individuals who are looking to apply for benefits or follow-up on existing benefits should contact DTA by phone or via the DTA Connect app or website


Food Insecurity

Meals on Wheels - Ethos - Boston
Some older adults may qualify to receive home delivered meals. If you, or someone you know, is 60 or older, and is interested in receiving meals on wheels, please call 617-477-6606 or visit

FoodSource Hotline
A toll-free hotline run by Project Bread that provides comprehensive statewide information and referral service in Massachusetts for people facing hunger. Call to connect to food resources in your community and for help applying to the food assistance program SNAP. For more information, visit:

Or call:
TTY 1-800-377-1292


Employee Rights and Employer Obligations

Attorney General's Guidance for Employers and Employees
When to use sick time? What are the qualifications for unemployment? How to get a loan for small business? Check out the Attorney General’s Guidance for Employers and Employees During the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency -

Workers' Rights
The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General is offering online Know Your Rights Educational Trainings regarding Workers' Rights and Earned Sick Time (in multiple languages). You can register for these trainings or share them amongst your networkings using on Eventbrite:



MIRA Coalition COVID-19 Resources
This page includes public health resources in multiple languages that can be shared with immigrant and refugee families; relevant information on immigration policy and enforcement; and other valuable resources:

Guidance for Coronavirus & Public Charge Rule for Undocumented Immigrants
Resource by MLRI and MIRA on undocumented immigrants accessing public benefits in response to COVID-19 and what it means for the Public Charge Rule - click here.


Internet Resources

HUD’s released its “Free or Low-Cost Internet Service and Other Related Resources (Devices and Content) that can Assist HUD-Assisted Residents During the COVID-19 Crisis." This document lists national carriers that provide free or low-cost  internet service, technological devices (such as laptops), and virtual educational and learning content for students.


Language Access

Lawyers for Civil Rights
Lawyers for Civil Rights has created a multilingual resource that addresses medical support, food insecurity, unemployment assistance, worker protection, the public charge rule and more at:


Municipal Government

Massachusetts Municipal Association's Coronavirus Resources
Because communities and municipal leaders are on the front lines in emergency situations, the following are some resources to inform local leaders and help them respond:



The Boston Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund
The Boston Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund has been established by a coalition of business, government and philanthropic partners to rapidly deploy flexible resources to organizations in Greater Boston that are working with communities that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak:

United Way of Massachusetts Bay COVID-19 Family Support Fund
The United Way established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The United Way will mobilize its broad network of nonprofit agencies throughout the region to provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis. These agencies have a proven and long track record of working with United Way to administer flexible emergency assistance for families impacted by income disruption. One time grants of up to $2000 will be made to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs. Learn more and donate here:


Small Businesses

Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
On March 15, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the creation of a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation will receive and process all applications for this fund. More information and applications can be found at:


Senior Services

AARP of Massachusetts
The AARP of Massachusetts has information for seniors and older residents. Visit:



Veterans Assistance
The VA is offering resources to veterans. To learn more, visit:


Take Action

CHAPA Policy Priorities for COVID-19 Response

As the public health crisis unfolds, even more households across incomes will face great challenges due to job losses and decreased incomes. The impacts will be hardest for households with the lowest incomes. No one should lose their home in the middle of a public health emergency. Our state’s and our country’s collective health depends on the ability for people to practice social distancing, self-isolate, or quarantine in their homes.

In order to help stop the spread of the virus and preserve housing stability during this crisis, CHAPA requests urgent action on state policies that will:

  • Freeze nonessential evictions and foreclosures;
  • Help residents pay rent or mortgage payments in cases of financial hardship;
  • Provide landlords and owners the resources they need to maintain their properties and operations;
  • Increase the capacity of emergency shelter providers, housing authorities, and regional housing agencies; and
  • Ensure the continued development and operation of high-quality affordable housing.

Please contact your legislators in support of the bills, priorities, and budget requests that on this a PDF on our website. You can find your legislators and their contact information here.


Help Halt Evictions & Foreclosures During COVID-19 Crisis
No one should lose their home during this public health crisis. CHAPA supports Rep. Kevin Honan and Rep. Mike Connolly's legislation (HD.4935) to put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. Contact your legislators to show your support for this bill and ask your State Representative and Senator to co-sponsor the legislation. 

CHAPA has sent a letter to the Legislature urging them to swiftly pass H.4935. This bill will help people remain stably housed during the COVID-19 emergency and prevent the spread of the virus.


Help Ensure that Congress Addresses Housing and Homelessness in the Third National COVID-19 Funding Package

Congress is currently working on a third COVID-19 funding package. The first two funding bills did not include resources specifically allocated for housing or homelessness. Call your senators and representatives today to demand robust resources to help protect people experiencing homelessness and to allow low-income people to continue to keep roofs over their heads during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

For a list of all COVID-19 related bills filed in the State Legislature, visit: 

Good News

As we work together to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, this section will highlight some great work being done by our affordable housing community here in Massachusetts! We hope these stories can provide hope, inspiration, or otherwise highlight some good in times when the challenges we face can seem so large.