RAFT Program

The RAFT program can be of help in paying rent, moving costs or utilities and just got a $5 million infusion from the state. To access it call 1-800-224-5124

Here is more info:

RAFT offers flexible financial assistance designed to meet each family’s particular needs. Eligible uses include:

  • moving cost assistance
  • rent and utility arrears
  • rental stipends
  • utility bills.
  • helps families who must move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility startup costs, or first/last month’s rent, and furniture (no more than $1000 of the family’s can be paid for furniture).
  • Families cannot get more than $4000 within a 12-month period.

Who is eligible for RAFT?

To be eligible for RAFT:

  • A family must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • The household must be income eligible using the following guideline:
    • Not less than 50 percent of the funding will be available for families with an income at or below 30% of Area Media Income (AMI), and a maximum of 50 percent for families between 30-50% AMI.
  • Meet the basic criteria of an assessment targeting tool (RAFT Screen) developed by DHCD.
    • Agency staff are allowed flexibility in applying the tool to determine eligibility.
  • The RAFT eligibility process will consider the reasons for which someone is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, including:
    • loss of income
    • and increased expenses for those with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of AMI

In addition:

  • A family must show that RAFT assistance will stabilize the current housing situation. This means a household must have enough income after receiving RAFT to be able to stay in their current housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid homelessness.

How can RAFT be accessed?

Completing a Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) Intake Assessment is the first step to accessing RAFT. Any family can walk into or call the HCEC Resource Center to complete the Intake Assessment form. Agencies do not require an in-person appointment to complete an intake assessment but will be available if a family requires in-person assistance to complete it.

When you apply, you will need:

  • Identification such as a driver’s license, other picture ID, or MassHealth card
  • Proof of current income for all adult household members (pay stubs, TAFDC or EAEDC award letters, proof of unemployment or child support payments, Social Security Income SSI statement, etc.)

Additionally, you may need:

  • A copy of your lease
  • Proof that you need help and the amount of money you need (eviction notice, utility shutoff notice, overdue utility bills, rental startup costs, etc.)
  • A participation agreement from your landlord, if you are a renter who is using RAFT to pay for back rent, first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, or monthly rent stipend.

Families should be informed that there may be up to a couple of weeks delay in arranging an appointment or reviewing an intake depending on the volume of families seeking assistance.

After the family has completed the HCEC Intake Assessment HCEC staff will review it to determine individual needs and resources.

About the RAFT Screen (the tool DHCD uses to determine eligibility)

The RAFT screen has three parts:

  • Part I asks only about the triggering event/housing crisis for which a family is seeking RAFT assistance.
  • Part II asks about income, and
  • Part III asks a series of questions that describe the level of risk for each family.

Part I and Part II do not have points attached to the questions, whereas Part III does. A family must be eligible through all parts of the Screen (I, II, and III) in order to qualify for RAFT. If a family does not meet any criteria in Part I or Part II they will not need to complete Part III.  DHCD anticipates that most families referred to RAFT will pass Parts I and II, but that some families will not be prioritized or determined eligible for RAFT based on Part III.

Frequently Ask Questions about RAFT

  • How long does this benefit last?
    • The timing and use of the benefit may vary but cannot exceed 12 months from the first payment.
  • Can a family living in an EA Shelter be eligible for RAFT?
    • No, RAFT is a homelessness prevention program.
  • What is the deadline to use RAFT once I apply?
    • The first payment of the benefit must be used within 60 days of being determined eligible unless there is a documented administrative delay or extenuating circumstances.
  • What happens if a family receives $4,000 through RAFT but ends up homeless again within 12 months, are they eligible for more money?
    • No, they cannot receive additional RAFT support for 12 months from the date of the first payment they received.  If they are at risk of homelessness, we ask that you refer them to other community resources. The family may, however, apply for Emergency Assistance.
  • If there is new information or the family’s circumstances change, may they re-apply for RAFT?
    • A family may reapply for RAFT after 30 days if they were determined ineligible. If there are new circumstances or new information, they can contact their local Home Consumer Education Center.
  • Can a person use RAFT to move out-of-state?
    • Yes, but only for moving expenses and start-up costs.  No ongoing funds (rent stipends, childcare payments, etc.) can be paid through this program.
  • Can a person who has a Section 8 and is moving from one unit to another unit receive RAFT?
    • Only if they are being evicted and have a “Writ of Summary Process”.  DHCD does not provide relocation money for families who are already in the Section 8 program.

COVID-19 Resources

MASSACHUSETTS RESOURCES AS OF MARCH 18, 2020

 

General Assistance Updates: For general public assistance questions call 211

 

Unemployment Updates: 

To apply for unemployment go here: https://www.mass.gov/guides/what-to-do-if-youve-become-unemployed-in-massachusetts and if you need help here is a handbook: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-unemployment-handbook-initial-claims-filed-on-or-after-march-15-2020/download New regulations loosen the 1 week waiting period and “work search” requirements. If you have questions about these or other changes, call 617-626-6422

 

FOOD ASSISTANCE:

  1. Apply for SNAP/Food stamps. (877) 382-2363 or go onlinehttps://www.mass.gov/snap-benefits-food-stamps
  2. Look for a food resource in your neighborhood at the City of Boston Food Map: City food https://www.boston.gov/departments/food-access#food-resources-maps
    1. Healthy Incentives Program earn money when buying healthy food
    2.  WIC: https://www.mass.gov/wic-information-for-participants
    3. Find a food bank: https://www.gbfb.org/need-food

 

HEAT ASSISTANCE

NATIONAL GRID IS SUSPENDING ALL COLLECTIONS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE EVERSOURCE IS SUSPENDING ALL DISCONNECTIONS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

  1. Apply for Fuel Assistance.(800) 632-8175https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-home-heating-and-energy-assistance
  2. City of Boston resources:https://www.boston.gov/departments/311/home-heating-help-tenants
  3. Other cities and towns: Service Providers by Town

 

United Way Fund: 

If members need immediate money, call 211 and ask for the United Way Fund.  They are offering cash assistance to Massachusetts residents. For more info go to: https://unitedwaymassbay.org/get-involved/covid-19-family-fund/

 

UNION CAPITAL Fund:

is offering gift cards, to apply click here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScoIROjCAZrjNOxacVg0CBAfKSMpQ7wY2eVZsA9QmB8__zTlg/viewform

 

The RAFT Program
The RAFT program can be of help in paying rent, moving costs or utilities and just got a $5 million infusion from the state. To see if you are eligible, click here. To access it call 1-800-224-5124.
Here is more info:

RAFT offers flexible financial assistance designed to meet each family’s particular needs. Eligible uses include:

  • moving cost assistance
  • rent and utility arrears
  • rental stipends
  • utility bills
  • helps families who must move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility startup costs, or first/last month’s rent, and furniture (no more than $1000 of the family’s can be paid for furniture).
  • Families cannot get more than $4000 within a 12-month period.

 

OFW Fund: https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help

Boston Helps: Fill out form which will connect people to providers: https://www.boston.com/boston-helps/coronavirus-im-looking-for-help

 

Reducing internet/cable costs for members:

  • Comcast is offering 60 days of free service to new Internet Essentials customers and free remote installation. It’s also increasing service speeds for new and existing customers. 1-855-846-8376 or Apply for service.
  • Starry is offering free service until the end of May to all current Starry Connect subscribers and anyone who signs up for Starry Connect before the end of May. You must live in a building that is currently served by the Starry Connect program.
  • PCs for People offers low-cost Wi-Fi hotspots and computers to qualifying households

     

Health Care:  Insurers must cover COVID-19 related treatment and testing without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment. Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services.

 

Free meals: The City of Boston and other regional partners will be providing free meals at various locations and times. Call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at (800) 645-8333 to find the best location for the member

 

 

RHODE ISLAND RESOURCES AS OF MARCH 18, 2020

 

Unemployment

File an Unemployment claim: https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/UIClaims2013/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes

 

General Questions & Cash Assistance

For General Questions call: 211

To see what public assistance you qualify for go to:

https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/access/am-i-eligible?PAGE_ACTION=LoadWelcome&language=EN

For a full listing of public assistance programs go to:

http://www.economicprogressri.org/index.php/guide-to-assistance-full-listing-all-programs/

 

Paying mortgage or rent

Hardest hit fund for homeowners: hhfri.org or call (401) 277-1500

Rhode Island Housing HelpCenter – rent, mortgage, and foreclosure help: 401-457-1130 or https://www.rihousing.com/homeowner-assistance/

Housing Mediation, counseling, and other resources by bank: Read more.

 

Other housing assistance by location:

BLACKSTONE VALLEY COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM
401-723-4520-238
32 Goff Avenue
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860-2928

THE HOUSING NETWORK OF RHODE ISLAND
401-521-1461
1070 Main Street
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860

COMMUNITYWORKSRI
401-273-2330-109
693 Broad Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02907

OLNEYVILLE HOUSING CORPORATION
401-351-8719
66 Chaffee Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02909

PROVIDENCE HOUSING AUTHORITY
401-709-6400
100 Broad Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-4129

RHODE ISLAND HOUSING
401-457-1130
44 Washington St
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-1721

 

Healthcare

RIte Care Assistance Program: (401) 462-5300

Prescription Drug Assistance Program from RIRx: https://rirx.com/

Child Care Assistance Program: (401) 462-5300RIte Share – Healthcare assistance program for families: (401) 462-0311or http://www.eohhs.ri.gov/Consumer/FamilieswithChildren/RIteShare.aspx

  

Food

Food pantries near Providence

SNAP, R.I. Works Program, Cash assistance, other programs: https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/access/am-i-eligible?PAGE_ACTION=LoadWelcome&language=EN

RI Food Banks: Read more.

 

Energy and Heating Assistance

RISEO Emergency Fuel Program
This Rhode Island program is a separate program from LIHEAP and it offers emergency assistance to households that are experiencing an energy-related crisis, and will help families pay utility and heating bills.

Good Neighbor Energy Fund: www.rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org.

UniBank assistance program: 508-754-1176

Heating assistance: https://www.ricommunityaction.org/member-services/default.aspx

 

County Specific assistance:

Kent County

Newport County

Providence County

Washington County

Local 26 Virtual Membership Meeting and Swearing-In of Executive Board

LOCAL 26 ALERT: Local 26 Virtual Membership Meeting and Swearing-In of Executive Board

Time: Mar 26, 5:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting with link

https://zoom.us/j/617993956

Or Call in with +13126266799,,617993956#

UNITE HERE Local 26 Election Notice

Union study finds Black Starbucks baristas in airports paid less than whites

Black baristas at airport Starbucks make a median wage of $11.15 an hour, $1.85 less than white baristas, according to a report released Tuesday by the hospitality workers’ union Unite Here.

The union examined 2019 employment data of more than 2,000 unionized workers — 85 percent of whom were people of color, and 35 percent Black women — at 142 stores operated by HMSHost in 27 airports around the country, including in Boston.

In March of 2018, Starbucks announced that it had reached 100 percent pay equity for men, women, and people of color doing similar jobs at its US stores. In May of that year, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 US stores for a day for racial bias training following an incident in which two Black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.

But according to Unite Here, the airport Starbucks remained open. Nearly a third of workers responding to a Unite Here survey said they had struggled to pay their rent in the past year.

In addition, LGBTQ workers reported being subjected to offensive comments, and one in four immigrants were told to stop speaking their preferred languages at work.

On Thursday, workers plan to leaflet 700 Starbucks stores in 40 cities, including 20 in the Boston area, to raise awareness of the report’s findings. Starbucks referred a request for comment to HMSHost, which could not be reached immediately.


Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.