Apply for Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance for Renters & Homeowners

RCAP Solutions serves as the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for Worcester County and administers financial assistance programs such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA), and the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

These programs are designed for renters and homeowners of all household sizes to help prevent homelessness. Our single application determines eligibility for all programs. RCAP Solutions will determine the best program(s) to fit your needs. If your household resides outside of these cities and you are looking for assistance, visit mahousinghelp.com to find your provider.


For Renters & Homeowners:

If you need help paying your rent or mortgage, complete the online application found below (choose language):

 

 

The best way to apply is online. However, if you prefer to submit a paper application or need the application in another language, download it below:

English | Spanish | Portuguese | Vietnamese | Russian | Haitian Creole | Chinese | Khmer

Completed paper applications should be emailed to: HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or faxed to: 508-365-6008


For Landlords:

Landlords who own 20 units or less can submit an online application for their tenants who may need to request financial assistance for overdue rent. All adult household members must sign a Tenant Consent Form (located in the online application and available here in various languages), in order for the landlord to complete this process.

 

 

The best way to apply is online. However, if you prefer to submit a paper application or need the application in another language, download it below:

English | Spanish | Portuguese | Vietnamese | Russian | Haitian Creole | Chinese | Khmer

Completed paper applications should be emailed to: HCEC@rcapsolutions.org or faxed to: 508-365-6008

Note: Landlords who own more than 20 units are still eligible to receive RAFT/ERMA/ERAP funds if their tenant applies through the Tenant Application.

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.

Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP):

RAFT/ERMA applications may also be considered for the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP); no additional or separate application is required. ERAP includes benefits that can exceed $10,000 and include slightly different eligibility requirements, along with a preference for households with one or more members that have been unemployed 90 days or more at the time of application or who have income below 50% of the Area Median Income. We will match you with the most appropriate program based on your needs and circumstances, and may ask additional questions beyond those in the application.

For more information, download the ERAP application guidance document below:

English | Spanish | Portuguese | Vietnamese | Russian | Haitian Creole | Chinese | Khmer


More Information:

Household qualifications vary by program. For example, a household that does not qualify for ERAP may still qualify for RAFT or ERMA. All households that fall within the parameters below should apply. Our staff will determine the program for which they are eligible.

Additionally, households that have already received RAFT or ERMA may receive ERAP as well, as long as the programs do not cover the same expenses for the same month.

Eligible households include:

  • Individuals, families with or without children, and unaccompanied youth
  • Household income must be at or below 80% area median income (AMI)
  • Household must provide proof that they are currently experiencing a housing crisis
Program funds can be used for housing-related expenses only. Appropriate uses of funds include, but are not limited to:

  • Rental or mortgage arrearages
  • Short-term rental stipend
  • Security deposits
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Utility arrearages
  • Employment-related transportation costs
For more information, download the flyer below.



It is very important that applications are submitted with all required documentation. Submitting a complete application will ensure a quicker processing time, resulting in funds being delivered sooner. If an application is incomplete, applicants will have 14 days to submit the required documents.

Tenants will need to provide:

  • ID for Head of Household
    • This document will need to include the head of household's full name and date of birth
    • Examples include a state issued driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport


  • Proof of Current Housing
    • This includes a lease, tenancy agreement or a tenancy at-will form


  • Verification of Eligible Housing Crisis
    • Notice of arrears or balance overdue
    • Court summons
    • Notice to quit
    • Notice of eviction
    • Letter from host if doubled up


  • Verification of Income

    1. Presumed eligibility: Households receiving benefits from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) or most MassHealth plans are presumed eligible.

    2. Benefit Letters: Households can provide an income eligibility form from one of the following benefit programs:
      • Public housing (state or federal)
      • Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)
      • State housing vouchers: MRVP, AHVP, DMH, or DDS housing vouchers
      • LIHEAP
      • Massachusetts subsidized childcare
      • Veterans Chapter 115 benefits

    3. Self-Submitted Documents:
      • Annual income may be verified by 2020 Form 1040 (s); OR
      • Monthly income may be verified by two paystubs from the past 60 days, plus most recent benefit letters (security, child support, unemployment, etc.)


Landlord Documents:

  • Applicants should let their landlord know they are planning to apply, as they will need to provide the following documents in order to receive payment:
    • W-9 for property owner or authorized agent of the property owner, like a property manager
    • Proof of ownership for unit
In Massachusetts, a landlord must send a tenant a Notice to Quit before the landlord can file a summary process (eviction) action. The Notice to Quit is a legal document that formally notifies the tenant that the tenancy will be terminated on a specific date. A Notice to Quit is not an order to leave your apartment on the date of the lease termination.

NOTE: If you receive a Notice to Quit you do not need to immediately leave your unit. You are entitled to a legal proceeding in which you can defend against the eviction. Only a court order can force you to leave your unit.

If you have received a Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent, do not ignore or discard it. You should immediately contact your landlord to try to work out a payment plan and use the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder to connect with legal assistance and other resources.

For full instructions on what to do if you receive a Notice to Quit, download the flyer below.

 





Portuguese | Vietnamese | Russian | Haitian Creole | Chinese | Khmer
The Massachusetts Eviction Diversion Initiative (EDI) includes new programming and resources for tenants and landlords to avoid evictions and maintain household stability throughout the COVID-19 emergency.

For more information, click here or download the flyer below.







Portuguese | Vietnamese | Russian | Haitian Creole | Chinese | Khmer
Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC): HCEC is the first point of contact for anyone interested in RCAP Solutions housing counseling, programs, and resources.

Senior, Disabled & Family Housing: RCAP Solutions manages over 380 affordable apartments for the elderly, disabled, and families in Athol, Bolton, Boylston, Groton, Hubbardston, Northbridge, Townsend, Webster, and Worcester.

Senior & Disabled Programs: RCAP Solutions provides a comprehensive array of elder service programs which can assist our aging population and those who are disabled.
Community Healthlink: Mental illness, substance use, and homelessness recovery services.

Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA): Direct economic assistance (cash benefits), food assistance (SNAP benefits), and workforce training opportunities.

Eviction Legal Help: Free legal help to low-income tenants who are facing eviction.

Find Emergency Family Shelter: If you are in need of Massachusetts shelter services.

Fuel Assistance: Get help paying for heating your house or apartment.

MA Attorney General's Office: Consumer Advocacy & Response Division

Resolution Massachusetts (Housing Mediation): Mediaton Centers can help tenants and landlords resolve disputes and find flexible solutions that work for everyone.

SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps): Provides a monthly benefit to buy nutritious foods.

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program: Keeps pregnant and breastfeeding women and kids under 5 healthy.

Specialized Services:

RCAP Solutions 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. Click here for more information.


Housing Search:

RCAP Solutions has partnered with GoSection8 to maintain a list of available housing in the area. Users can search the list by a number of different criteria. In addition, landlords with available units to lease may add them to the list.

To search for housing as a prospective renter or to list your property as a landlord, visit rcap.gosection8.com.


Questions? Contact Us:

Please note, our office is closed to the public at this time and visits are by appointment only or for paperwork drop off.