Financial Assistance for Renters (RAFT Program)

Difficulty paying your rent? Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) is a state-funded financial assistance program, which keeps struggling families safely housed.

About the Program

For individuals and families who have lost income or are struggling to pay expenses due to a hardship, there are programs that can help.

RCAP Solutions serves as the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for Worcester County and administers financial assistance through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. This program can provide eligible households with funding that can be used to help stay in current housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless.

To learn more about the RAFT program, visit: Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program | Mass.gov

Click below for a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the RAFT program:

If you are unable to access or submit an online application, please email us at HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or call us at (978) 630-6771 for assistance.


 

Which Agency Will Be Processing My Application?
  • If you live in the city of Worcester, your application will be processed by the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA). If you reside in Worcester and are unable to complete the online application or need application assistance, please contact CMHA at hc@cmhaonline.org or call (508) 752-5519, ext. 172
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  • If you live in a Central Massachusetts town outside of Worcester (highlighted in green on our RAFT Service Area Map), your application will be processed by RCAP Solutions. If you reside in one of these towns and are unable to complete the online application or need application assistance, please contact RCAP Solutions at HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or call (978) 630-6771
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  • If you live outside of Central Massachusetts and are unsure of which agency services your community, please use this lookup tool.
RAFT Service Area Map (click to enlarge):

I Need Help Completing the Online Application. Who Can I Contact?

RCAP Solutions is proud to be partnering with several community-based organizations (CBOs) to bring RAFT application assistance to clients throughout Central Massachusetts.

If you need help completing the online application, please contact RCAP Solutions or a CBO (listed below) to schedule an appointment. During the appointment, you will be guided through the application process. These appointments can be conducted in-person or virtually.

PLEASE NOTE: This service is only available to residents living in a community where RCAP Solutions administers the RAFT program (see our RAFT Service Area Map).

Valuing Our Children
217 Walnut Street • Athol, MA 01331
(978) 249-8467 • info@valuingourchildren.org
www.valuingourchildren.org

Spanish American Center
112 Spruce Street • Leominster, MA 01453
(978) 534-3145 • info@spanishamericancenter.org
www.spanishamericancenter.org

Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC)
Offering application assistance at multiple locations by appointment only. Click here to schedule.
(508) 754-1176 • resiliency@wcac.net
www.wcac.net
Serving Southern Worcester County/Blackstone Valley

NewVue Communities
470 Main Street • Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 288-0210 • relief@nvcomm.org
www.newvuecommunities.org
Serving North Central Massachusetts

Additional Information for Tenants

Eligible households include:
 

  • Individuals, families with or without children, and unaccompanied youth
  • Household income must be at or below 50% area median income (AMI)
  • Household must provide proof that they are currently experiencing a housing crisis

It is very important that applications are submitted with the following documentation. Submitting a complete application will ensure a quicker processing time, resulting in funds being delivered sooner.
 

  • ID for the head of household
  • Proof of housing crisis (for example, a notice to quit; which is a letter formally notifying you that your tenancy will be terminated on a specific date)
  • Proof of housing (for example, a lease)
  • Proof of income (for example, paystubs

 

  • To learn more about submitting a complete application, eligibility and required documents, click here.

Program funds can be used for housing-related expenses only. Up to $10,000 per household in a 12-month period can be provided. Appropriate uses of funds include, but are not limited to:
 

  • Rent arrears
  • Utility arrears
  • Short-term rental stipend
  • Security deposits
  • Start-up costs (if moving to a new apartment)
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC): HCEC is the first point of contact for anyone interested in RCAP Solutions housing counseling, programs, and resources.
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  • Affordable Housing Properties: RCAP Solutions manages several affordable apartment complexes for seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities/mobility impairments. We have units in Athol, Bolton, Bolyston, Groton, Hubbardston, Northbridge, Townsend, Webster, and Worcester.
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  • Independent Living Programs: RCAP Solutions provides a comprehensive array of elder service programs which can assist our aging population as well as those who have a disability.
  • Discriminating against someone because they receive public assistance is illegal. If you are a tenant who has been denied housing due to your Section 8 voucher or if your landlord has refused RAFT or other rental assistance payments, the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center can help. Visit www.massfairhousing.org for more information.

Information for Landlords/Property Owners

The RAFT application system requires both a tenant application and a landlord application for tenants who are requesting rental assistance. Landlords and property owners can (a) begin the RAFT application process for their tenants who may need to request financial assistance for overdue rent OR (b) complete the application once the tenant has submitted their application.
 
To begin the landlord/property owner application process, you must first register an account as a new user if you have not already done so here: User Registration (mass.gov)
 

  • Your account must have info entered for the Payee, Properties, and Payment Methods sections on your profile before you can apply.

 
Once a landlord/property owner has an account, you can apply here: Home (mass.gov) If your tenant has already completed their application at the time you are submitting the landlord application, be sure to include the Tenant Application Code that you received in your email. Note that the Tenant Application Code is different from their Case ID.
 
For more guidance on how to apply and create a landlord profile, please utilize this reference guide: Housing Assistance Application Reference Guide (mass.gov)
 
For a list of landlords’/property owners’ Frequently Asked Questions, visit: Landlord FAQs  download (mass.gov)
 
For other resources, including recordings of webinars about Landlord/Property Owner RAFT Application Portal, visit: RAFT Public Resource and Training Portal (mass.gov)

Discrimination by a landlord is prohibited.
 
Landlords should be aware that Chapter 151B of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits discrimination by a landlord against any tenant receiving federal, state, or local housing subsidies, including rental assistance or rental supplements, because the individual is such a recipient.
 
A landlord’s refusal to accept emergency rental assistance, that covers the entire amount owed to the landlord, may, in some circumstances, constitute a violation of Chapter 151B. Landlords should consult their own legal counsel for advice before declining rental assistance that covers all outstanding rent arrears.

Information for Homeowners

As of July 1, 2023, the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program is available to eligible homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Eligible homeowners may apply for RAFT through the Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal. Eligibility guidelines are posted on the website.

Find Housing

 
For those who need assistance navigating a sometimes complicated market, there are resources to help you find and keep safe housing that you can afford. RCAP Solutions has identified several listing services with available apartments in the area.

Specialized Services

 
We can assist individuals and families with specialized services which includes; assistance with applying for emergency funding, gaining access to mental health and substance abuse centers, and obtaining public benefits and legal help. This intensive, personalized case management is pivotal in engaging households and stabilizing them in their communities.

Have questions? Looking for assistance?

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about these services, please contact us via email: HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or phone: (978) 630-6771

 

Financial Assistance Programs Keep Struggling Families Safely Housed


 
The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program has helped keep thousands of people safely housed, including those featured in our video.