Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.
CHAPA's upcoming Affordable Housing Coronavirus Response virtual meetings can be found on our events page. Notes from previous meetings can be found below:
- March 13th notes
- March 20th notes
- March 27th notes
- April 3rd notes
- April 10th notes
- April 17th notes
- April 24th notes
- May 1st notes
- May 8th notes
- May 15th notes
- May 22nd notes
- May 29th notes
- July 1st notes
For the most updated information on the state's response to COVID-19, visit the Mass.Gov Coronavirus website.
This list contains the most recent COVID-19 state updates. For all COVID-19 related updates, please visit CHAPA's Housing News.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $20 Million for Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance - 6/30/2020
On June 30, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a new $20 million, statewide fund to assist low-income households facing difficulty making rent and mortgage payments. The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program will provide direct funding to eligible households who have suffered financial hardship during the State of Emergency put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. ERMA will expand eligibility for rental and mortgage assistance to more low-income households who have been impacted by the crisis by adjusting the income threshold beyond the state’s traditional Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. This includes households within the 50-80% range of Area Median Income (AMI). Like the RAFT program, ERMA will provide up to $4,000 for eligible households to pay rent or mortgage payments in arrears going back to payments due April 1, 2020. Beginning July 1, applicants can reach out to the eleven agencies that administer RAFT on the state’s behalf, this includes the nine Housing Consumer Education Centers, as well as LHAND and the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance.
Senate Ways & Means Released State Supplemental Budget Proposal with $20 Million for RAFT - 6/30/2020
On June 29, the Senate Committee on Ways & Means released a $1.1 billion COVID-19 response supplemental budget proposal for FY2020 (S.2789). Click here for a summary of the affordable housing related provisions of the Senate budget proposal. The budget proposal directs millions in funding to critical programs to support affordable and public housing, emergency rental assistance, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention. It also expands Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and creates a COVID-19 response program, with expanded benefits for households impacted by the virus. S.2789 also authorizes any unexpended funds from the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, to continue into the next fiscal year for rental assistance programs and the family emergency shelter system. This will allow these programs do keep millions of dollars in funding. The State Senate is expected to vote on the budget proposal on Thursday, July 2.
House Passes FY2020 State Supplemental Budget with $20 Million for RAFT - 6/25/2020
On June 25, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $1.1 billion COVID-19 response supplemental budget for FY2020 (H.4802). The bill directs millions in funding to critical programs to support affordable and public housing, emergency rental assistance, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention. The budget provides $20 million to expand Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and creates a COVID-19 response program, with expanded RAFT benefits for households impacted by the virus. The State Senate is expected to pass a supplemental budget quickly before sending it to the Governor.
Governor Enacts COVID-19 Data Law with Reporting Requirements for Senior Affordable Housing - 6/8/2020
On June 7, Governor Baker enacted a COVID-19 data law with new reporting requirements for public and affordable housing for seniors and persons with disabilities. The law requires these housing providers to report any known COVID-19 cases or deaths among residents or staff to the Department of Public Health and local boards of health. The law also requires these housing providers to notify residents and each resident’s healthcare proxy by the following day each time there is a COVID-19 case or death or if 3 or more residents or staff present with respiratory symptoms within the previous 72 hours.
Boston Makes $5 Million More Available For Rent Relief - 6/3/2020
The City of Boston will make another $5 million available for its Rental Relief Fund, adding to the $3 million with which the fund launched in early April. City officials received 1,600 applications during the first period of eligibility and so far have paid $680,000 in assistance to 210 households. To qualify for the assistance, a Boston household must have an income at 80 percent or less of the area median income, which is $90,650 for a family of four. Approved recipients can get up to three months of rental assistance, maxing out at $4,000 for a 12-month period. City officials will prioritize applicants who are ineligible for unemployment insurance or do not receive the full amount. Applications for the latest round will become available at 12 p.m. Friday in seven languages and will be due by Friday, June 19.
Landlords Challenge Statewide Eviction Moratorium in Court - 6/1/2020
Two landlords have challenged the statewide eviction moratorium in court. The suit, filed with the Supreme Judicial Court, seeks to overturn moratorium claiming that the law is unconstitutional, violates the right of landlords to access the courts, and represents a seizure of real estate without proper compensation. If successful, the challenge could allow thousands of evictions to proceed when state courts reopen this summer. The court is expected to hear the case later this month.
Governor Baker Files $1 Billion COVID-19 Supplemental Budget - 5/13/2020
On May 12, Governor Baker filed a $1 billion supplemental budget (H.4707) for spending related to COVID-19. The Governor plans for the federal government to reimburse the state for the supplemental budget to cover the costs of expenses for disaster response activities. These expenses include payments for increased costs for local housing authorities and for the family and individual emergency shelter system.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition website.
HUD Issues 2nd Round of ESG-CARES Act Funding - 6/9/2020
On June 9, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued the remaining $2.96 Billion of ESG Funding from the CARES Act. Massachusetts' ESG program received $73,604,660 in funding.
HUD-CPD Issues 2nd Round of CDBG-CARES Act Funding - 5/8/2020
On May 8, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Community Planning and Development's (CPD) issued a second round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the CARES Act. Massachusetts' State CDBG program received $26,083,361 in funding.
Phase 3.5 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 4/24/2020
On April 24, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed a $484 billion coronavirus rescue package that delivers emergency aid to small businesses and hospitals. The bill will provide an immediate $321 billion investment in the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, $75 billion in emergency relief for hospitals and $25 billion to ramp up coronavirus testing.
Phase 3 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 3/27/2020
On March 27, 2020, the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) was passed and signed into law. The CARES Act allocates $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
The bill also includes provisions that ban evictions and provide mortgage forbearance for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. You can find a complete summary of the bill at the link.
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.
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.
Phase 2 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 3/18/2020
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201) was passed and signed into law. This ~$100 billion funding package 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.
A complete summary of the Phase 2 legislative funding package can be found at the link.
Phase 1 COVID-19 Legislative 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
Housing Policy 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
- Additional State Rental Assistance COVID-19 Guidance & Waivers - 6/1/2020
- Federal Rental Assistance Guidance Regarding HUD Waivers and Additional DHCD Waivers - 4/30/2020
- FAQs on Eviction & Foreclosure Moratorium - 4/30/2020
- Overview of Housing Resources in Federal CARES Act
- Resources & Best Practices for Resident Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Preparing for and Responding to COVID-19 Case in Public Housing
- Guidance on Rent Increases During COVID-19 Emergency
- Guidance for LHAs on Evictions and Rent Redetermination
- Guidance for Affordable Housing Operators on Lease Enforcement and Evictions During COVID-19 Emergency
- Guidance for Administering MRVP
- Guidance for Administering AHVP
- Initial policies and procedures for federal rental assistance administered by DHCD
- Guidance and Best Practices for Housing Authorities during COVID-19 Emergency
- Capital Projects Guidance for Housing Authorities during COVID-19 Emergency
- Temporary Changes to DHCD Oversight Activities to Mitigate Spread of Coronavirus
- Guidance for Local Housing Authorities
- Reminder for LHAs on Interim Redetermination Procedures for Decreases in Gross Income
- Guidance for Regional Administering Agencies & Housing Consumer Education Centers
Guidance & Best Practices
- MA Housing Court COVID-19 FAQ
- Boston Housing Authority CARES Act Waivers
- Info on Eviction & Foreclosure Moratorium - Greater Boston Legal Services - 4/22/2020
- FAQs on Foreclosure Moratorium & Statewide Forbearance Policy - Division of Banks - 4/27/2020
- FAQ for Cities and Towns Regarding FEMA Reimbursement for Quarantine/Isolation Solutions - 4/14/2020
- FAQ for Homeless Shelters
- Using the Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Rental Assistance Programs - Massachusetts Housing Partnership updated 4/3/2020
- Division of Banks Message to Industry Regarding Mortgage Loan Borrowers Impacted by COVID-19
- Department of Public Health Guidance for Congregate Care Facilities
- How the Community Preservation Act Can Help with Rental Assistance
- Sample LHA Notice for Residents on COVID-19 Emergency
- Sample COVID-19 Emergency Stop Sign for Visitors
- Sample COVID-19 Emergency Visitor Log
- Sample COVID-19 Questionnaire for Maintenance Workers When Residents Request a Work Order
- Worcester Housing Authority COVID-19 Questionnaire for Residents
- Boston Housing Authority COVID-19 General Guidance for Site Managers
- Boston Public Health Commission FAQ for Boston Housing Authority
- COVID-19 Guidance for Supportive Housing Providers - Corporation for Supportive Housing
- COVID-19 - What Supportive Housing Providers Need to Know - Corporation for Supportive Housing
- COVID-19 Supportive Housing Community Platform - Corporation for Supportive Housing (need to create an account)
- Guidelines for Property Managers - City of Worcester
- Guidance for Owners & Managers of Multifamily Residential Properties - Nixon Peabody
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Main CDC COVID-19 Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
- Interim Guidance - Responding to COVID-19 Among People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness
- Interim Guidance - Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities
- Interim Recommendations for Cleaning & Disinfecting Infected Household
- Steps Healthcare Facilities Can Take Now to Prepare for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Interim Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for US Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
- HUD Increases Flexibility of Funds for Public Housing to Fight COVID-19 - 5/5/2020
- HUD FAQs for Federal Eviction Moratorium for Public Housing Agencies - 4/21/2020
- HUD Notice PIH 2020-05 - Statutory and Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs, Suspension of Public Housing Assessment System and Section Eight Management Assessment Program
- Summary of PIH-05 - National Leased Housing Association
- COVID-19 FAQs for Public Housing Agencies - 3/31/2020
- Analysis of HUD's COVID-19 Resources & Recommendations - Columbia Law School Health Justice Advocacy Clinic - 3/18/2020
- Contingency Plans for Closing Multifamily Loans & Similar Commercial Loans During COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 FAQ for Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Native American Programs
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) - Office of Multifamily Housing Programs FAQ - Document to help property owners, managers and stakeholders address the implications of COVID-19 - Updated 4/14/2020
- Infectious Disease Toolkit for CoCs - guidance on preventing and managing the spread of infectious disease for people experiencing homelessness, including leading and coordinating efforts within shelters and encampments
- Interim Guidance for Homeless Services Practitioners
- Questions to Assist CoCs and Public Health Authorities to Limit the Spread of Infectious Disease in Homeless Programs
- Specific Considerations for Public Health Authorities to Limit Infection Risk Among People Experiencing Homelessness
- Eligible ESG costs for Infectious Disease Preparedness
- Infectious Disease Preparedness for Homeless Assistance Providers and Their Partners
Other Federal Agencies & Guidance
- FHFA Provides Tenant Protections - 6/29/20
- Protections for Renters During COVID-19 Pandemic - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Working with FEMA to Address Housing & Homelessness Needs - National Low Income Housing Coalition
- Overview of CARES Act Eviction Moratorium - Congressional Research Service - 4/7/2020
- Information on Effective COVID-19 Disinfectants - Environmental Protection Agency
- COVID-19 Guidance for Workers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Non-Housing Policy 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: https://www.boston.gov/news/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-boston
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. https://www.mass.gov/alerts/covid-19-dta-updates-and-resources#undefined.
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: https://www.miracoalition.org/resources/covid19/
Guidance for Coronavirus & Public Charge Rule for Undocumented Immigrants
MIRA's updated resource "Public Charge’ in the Time of COVID-19", in English, Spanish and Portuguese, explaining the public charge rules and the many categories of immigrants who are not affected by them, can be found here. To use the screening tool to determine whether the pubic charge rule might affect you or your client, click here.
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.
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.
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: http://www.lawyersforcivilrights.org/coronavirus/
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: https://www.mma.org/coronavirus-resources-for-local-government-leaders/
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: https://www.tbf.org/what-we-do/special-funds/covid-19-response-fund.
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: https://unitedwaymassbay.org/get-involved/covid-19-family-fund/.
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: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/what-we-offer/emergency-loan-funds/covid-19-loan-fund
AARP of Massachusetts
The AARP of Massachusetts has information for seniors and older residents. Visit: https://states.aarp.org/massachusetts/state-and-local-information-and-resources-on-coronavirus
The VA is offering resources to veterans. To learn more, visit the VA's website.
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:
- COVID-19 Response Policy Priorities
- COVID-19 State Budget Response Priorities
- RAFT Emergency Appropriation Request
Help Halt Evictions & Foreclosures During COVID-19 Crisis
On April 9, a conference committee was appointed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium bills. Here is a comparison of the two bills. CHAPA has asked the conference committee to support a final bill that will provide strong protections for renters and homeowners. This would include provisions that would:
- Establish a moratorium that lasts until at least 30 days after the COVID-19 emergency is lifted
- A prohibition on both judgments and default judgments from being entered against tenants
- Prohibiting the sending of a notice to quit in non-essential eviction cases
- Directing financial institutions in Massachusetts to grant homeowners a forbearance on their mortgages
Help Ensure that Congress Addresses Housing & Homelessness in the Next Federal COVID-19 Funding Package
Following the passage of the CARES Act, Congress continues to work on additional federal resources needed to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Through the New England Housing Network, CHAPA is advocating for additional relief for housing and homelessness to address the affordable housing crisis and get the economy up and running again. Call your Senators and Representative today to ask them to include 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 information on our federal priorities, please read the New England Housing Network's letter to Congress.
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.