Information on Housing Rights and Assistance for Massachusetts Residents

Have you received a notice to quit? Or are you worried about eviction? A notice to quit is the beginning of a legal process in which your landlord may seek the approval of the housing court to evict you. You have legal rights, options, and resources that you can access that may help you keep your housing. Please find below resources you may find helpful:

RAFT & other rental assistance 

  • This is the resource page for renters and homeowners 
  • Use this site by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to access local housing resources, including local housing authorities, regional housing agencies, and emergency shelter providers, by municipality. Select your community using the drop down at the top.
  • RAFT: The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program is a homelessness prevention program funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). RAFT provides short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The program is administered through the Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs), which each cover one of nine regions of MA. You can only apply to the HCEC that covers the area where you will be living and using the RAFT benefit. You can find eligibility requirements and start applying here.
    • The HCEC for the 5th Middlesex District (Melrose, Malden, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester) is Metro Housing Boston. Their contact information is as follows: 
      • (617) 425-6700 – For Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance
      • (617) 859-0400 – Metro Housing Boston Main Number
      • (800) 272-0990 – MA only
      • Fax: (617) 532-7559
      • Email:
  • The Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) has more information and resources for help paying your rent or mortgage, finding shelter, childcare, legal aid, or other necessities. 
  • Housing Families is a charity in Malden that supports families through all stages of housing insecurity and homelessness, offering emergency shelter, affordable housing, pro bono legal services, case management, access to direct financial assistance, stabilization, after-school tutoring and counseling (for kids and adults), enrichment and summer opportunities for kids,  advocacy, and community trainings all under one roof! You can find more information and request services here

State Housing Court

Federal Eviction Moratorium (through 12/31/2020)

The Federal moratorium extends through the end of the year, but its protection is not automatic. Tenants must actively seek relief by filing a declaration with their landlord; you can find a sample declaration here.

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • You have used your “best efforts” to obtain government rental assistance; 
  • You do not expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if you are married and filed a joint tax return), or you did not need to report income to the federal government in 2019, or you received an Economic Impact Payment this year; 
  • You have been experiencing a “substantial” loss of household income because of a layoff or reduced work hours, or you have “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses (defined as an unreimbursed medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year); 
  • You have been making your best effort to make partial rent payments as close to the full amount due as possible; and 
  • Being evicted would cause you to become homeless or you would have to move in with a friend or family member (live “doubled up”). 

An overview and FAQ on the moratorium (also available in Español) from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, complete with a sample declaration on the last page. You can also find this sample declaration translated into:

If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact Senator Lewis at or (617) 722-1206. 

Last updated: 10/20/2020