Metro Housing Services Continue Amid High Demand
Metro Housing is pleased to be able to continue to provide services to those in need during the COVID-19 health crisis. We know that even during a pandemic, homelessness and housing instability do not take a break. 
 
The majority of our staff members are working remotely, and they are ready to help families in need of our services. For safety reasons, our office will remain closed to the public until at least May 18. However, we are monitoring and responding to messages to ensure that issues are addressed as quickly as possible.

Visit our COVID information page for contact information and more details.

RAFT SEES JUMP IN APPLICATIONS

For more than a decade, the state-funded program known as RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) has helped keep people in their homes when facing a housing crisis like missed rent or utility payments. RAFT is even more important given the current employment and health emergency.

Prior to COVID, Metro Housing received between 10-20 RAFT pre-applications per day. Since March 30, the average peaked at 50 in early April, and in the last week has climbed to 45 pre-applications per day, likely due to the May rent deadline.

This increase is reflected in the raw numbers as well. For example, the number of RAFT pre-applications received the 39 days before and 39 days after the state of emergency has increased from 506 to 1,606, more than a three-fold increase.

This surge in RAFT applications is due in large part to those who have lost their jobs due to business closures and cannot pay rent. Charlene, of Chelsea, was employed at Macy’s in downtown Boston for the past four years, earning just over $12 an hour. On March 17, she was notified that all Macy’s stores were closing and she was out of a job. Knowing that she would need assistance to cover her rent, Charlene applied for RAFT on April 7 and received the support she needed to pay her rent.

If someone you know is facing housing instability and may benefit from
RAFT assistance, they can begin the online application process immediately.
Section 8 Application Now Available Online
Metro Housing has another renter resource available online. While the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) application has previously been widely available on paper, Metro Housing has recently made it available and submittable electronically . We hope this will be the first step in making more parts of the Section 8 administration more accessible.

For more information visit Metro Housing's Section 8 overview page .
Eviction Prevention Legislation Provides Housing Stability

By Representative Kevin Honan, 17th Suffolk
Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Housing
Everyone in the United States has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, business closures and stay-at-home orders have disproportionately affected low-income individuals and families, many of whom were rent burdened even before the way of life changes brought on by this pandemic.

As unemployment continues to rise and families are forced to make tough decisions about where their diminished incomes will be spent, it is imperative we keep Massachusetts families stably and safely housed.

This is why Representative Mike Connolly and I filed an eviction and foreclosure moratorium in the days immediately following Governor Baker’s state of emergency declaration in early March. We felt strongly that no person should have to worry about being evicted or foreclosed on while we are in an active state of emergency.

The final legislation places a moratorium on non-essential evictions for tenants and small businesses for 120 days, or for 45 days after termination of the state of emergency, whichever is sooner. A non-essential eviction is defined as one that is caused by non-payment of rent or for no fault or cause. The bill also authorizes Governor Baker to extend the moratorium in 90-day increments, if necessary.
CA N’T PAY YOUR RENT DUE TO COVID?
 
STEP 1
within 30 days of rent due date
 
STEP 2A FOR VOUCHER HOLDERS
 If you have a voucher, adjust your rent and
begin the income certification process by contacting Gateway@MetroHousingBoston.org

STEP 2B FOR MARKET RATE TENANTS
If you do not have a voucher, begin the process

For more information, visit Metro Housing’s

Helping Metro Housing Respond
Donations Help Families During Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 has had a major impact on all aspects of our lives. Millions of people across the country are out of work and worried about how they will feed their families and pay their rent.

Through the generous support of donors like United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley, Liberty Mutual, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and others, Metro Housing has raised more than $60,000 to help hundreds of local families with basic essentials.

Here are some examples of the help we have been able to provide:

  • Housing Supports staff are giving out approximately $4,000-$5,000 in gift cards each week to participants in need of basic necessities including food, cleaning supplies, and baby supplies.

  • Housing Supports staff are purchasing basic kitchen equipment (mini fridge/microwave/toaster) to allow homeless participants to be able to purchase food and “make” it in their rooms as nothing is currently being offered where they are assigned. These were families that were living in a homeless shelter where there were many COVID-19 related deaths. They were tested and moved into a local dorm to ensure they were able to avoid the virus.

  • Staff members purchased and delivered $1000 worth of gift cards and baby supplies (diapers, wipes, formula) to Boston Medical Center’s Pediatric Department for participants at that colocation.
Yongmei Chen Joins Board of Directors
Yongmei Chen, Senior Vice President and Team Leader of the Community Development Lending Group at Eastern Bank, has joined the Board of Directors of Metro Housing. She has been in the banking industry for over 25 years.

Yongmei’s lending focus is in the areas of affordable housing, economic revitalization projects, and general not-for-profit lending.

"As an immigrant, I came to this country with my parents when I was a teenager. I still remember the sense of relief when we found our first apartment that made us feel safe and secure in this new country of ours," says Yongmei. "I also remember the joy and excitement on my parent's faces when they purchased their first home. From my personal experiences, supporting Metro Housing's mission and vision is a no brainer for me.”

Yongmei currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Asian Community Development Corporation, Board of Directors at English for New Bostonians, and committee member of New Markets Tax Credit Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. Yongmei is a graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Metro Housing Remembers Robert Beal and Jane Gumbel
Long-time Metro Housing Board member Robert Beal, who was also the first recipient of the Lowell L. Richards III Award, passed away in February after a long illness.

An active philanthropist and head of his family’s development company, Beal & Co. (now Related Beal), Robert was active in all sectors of Boston’s civic, business, government, and nonprofit realms. The breadth of his experience made him the ideal first recipient of the Lowell L. Richards III Award in 2013, named for his close friend who died a few months previous.
Robert Beal (right) with Lowell and Karen Richards
“Robert was a dear friend of Lowell’s and mine,” said Karen Richards, Lowell’s wife. “He was a genuine and thoughtful man who cared deeply about many of the same things as Lowell, particularly when it came to providing affordable housing to greater Boston’s residents and the work of Metro Housing. I know that Robert is missed at Metro Housing and at countless other nonprofit organizations across the city.”

The affordable housing field lost another major force this past winter. Jane Gumble, who served from 1996 to 2007 as Undersecretary for DHCD under four consecutive Governors, succumbed to brain cancer in January after being diagnosed 22 years before.

One of the hallmarks of her career was helping revise Chapter 40B, a primary tool for ensuring affordable housing in all municipalities across the state. Her advocacy for that statute helped ensure that Massachusetts continued to make progress toward geographically dispersed options for people of different income levels.
Supporting Neighborhood Opportunity
throughout Massachusetts
Supporting Neighborhood Opportunity in Massachusetts (SNOMass) is a program within the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Moving to Work (MTW) program. SNOMass supports Housing Choice Voucher families with school age children making moves to communities with high quality schools, parks, open space, and healthy, safe environments.

After a one year pilot program in Lowell and Springfield, SNOMass will soon be rolled out across all regions of Massachusetts. Metro Housing will be administering the program throughout the Greater Boston region. We will provide services that support moves and residential stability to households with children wishing to move to SNOMass Opportunity Areas and to property owners with apartments in those areas.

Metro Housing is pleased to welcome Alexa Shabecoff as Manager, SNOMass. Alexa was formerly the Assistant Dean of Public Service at Harvard Law School. She begins her duties later this month.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
HONORING
Edward E. Zuker , Chestnut Hill Realty - Housing Champion Award
Boston Medical Center  - Lowell L. Richards III Award
  • Accepted by Kate Walsh, CEO, and Dr. Megan Sandel, Co-Director of the Grow Clinic
Trevor Samios , WinnCompanies - Rising Star Award
Katherine Martinez , Lena Park CDC - Rising Star Award

For more information about Champions of Housing, please contact  Carla S. Beaudoin  at 617-425-6679 or   Carla.Beaudoin@metrohousingboston.org .
Metro Housing|Boston
Phone 617.859.0400
Toll-Free:  800.272.0990