Assistance for Renters and Homeowners

Apply for Financial Assistance

Way Finders serves as the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) for Hampden and Hampshire counties and administers financial assistance programs such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA), and other municipal programs.

These programs are designed for renters and homeowners of all household sizes to help prevent homelessness. Our single application determines eligibility for all programs. Way Finders will determine the best program(s) to fit your needs. If your household resides outside of these counties and you are looking for assistance, find your regional HCEC here

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Financial Assistance can help with:

  • Overdue rent, mortgages, and utilities 
  • First/Last/Security Deposits
  • Utility Assistance
  • Moving Costs
  • Furniture (when moving)
  • More...

For Renters and Homeowners

Renters and homeowners can complete an application to request financial assistance for overdue rent, mortgage, utilities, and more. 

complete an online application 

The best way to apply is online. However, if you are unable to access or submit an online application, please contact 413-233-1600 or info@wayfinders.org for assistance.

After you complete your application, you may be asked to upload additional documents. Have your application ID that was emailed to you ready in order to login and upload documents. 

Login and upload additional documents


For Landlords

Landlords can begin the application process for their tenants who may need to request financial assistance for overdue rent. All adult household members must sign a Tenant Consent form in order for the Landlord to complete this process. 

complete the online landlord application  

If you are unable to access or submit an online application, please contact 413-233-1600 or info@wayfinders.org for assistance.

Massachusetts Chapter 151B Information

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.
 

Steps to Receiving Financial Assistance

  1. Complete an application online or by contacting 413-233-1600.
  2. Verification with a Way Finders' Housing Counselor. Review application for any missing documents and/or information. 
  3. If requesting assistance for overdue rent or First/Last/Security Deposits coordinate completion of Property Owner Packet.
  4. If additional documents are required please upload them here. You will need to have your application ID number available. You can find this number in the email confirmation sent to you after you submitted your original application.  

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for Financial Assistance programs vary. Due to COVID-19 program guidelines and requirements are flexible. Even if you have been denied in the past or if you have used your maximum RAFT benefit in the past 12 months, you may be eligible for new programs.

Our Financial Assistance Programs

Below is a list and description of financial assistance programs we offer. Our application determines eligibility for all programs. Way Finders will determine the best program(s) to fit your needs. 

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)

The RAFT Program is a homelessness prevention program funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). RAFT provides short-term financial assistance to households with income up to 50% Area Median Income (AMI) who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Up to $4,000 per 12-month period that can be used to help keep their housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless.

A benefit level of more than $4,000, not to exceed $10,000, is available to eligible households who are behind on rent, or expect to become behind on rent, due to a financial hardship related to COVID-19.

Receipt of a benefit level above $4,000 requires that the landlord enter into an agreement to keep the tenant stably housed and not file for eviction for at least for six months or until June 1, 2021 if there are school-aged children in the unit, whichever is later.
 

50% AMI Max

  • 1 Person Household = $29,900
  • 2 Person Household = $34,200
  • 3 Person Household = $38,450
  • 4 Person Household = $42,700
  • 5 Person Household = $46,150
  • 6 Person Household = $49,550
  • 7 Person Household = $52,950
  • 8 Person Household = $56,400

Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA)

ERMA expands eligibility for rental and mortgage assistance to more low-income households who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis by adjusting the income threshold beyond the state’s traditional Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. This includes households within the 50-80% range of Area Median Income (AMI). Like the RAFT program, ERMA will provide up to $4,000 for eligible households to pay rent or mortgage payments in arrears going back to payments due April 1, 2020.

50% - 80% AMI

  • 1 Person Household = $29,900 - $47,850
  • 2 Person Household = $34,200 - $54,650
  • 3 Person Household = $38,450 - $61,500
  • 4 Person Household = $42,700 - $68,300
  • 5 Person Household = $46,150 - $73,800
  • 6 Person Household = $49,550 - $79,250
  • 7 Person Household = $52,950 - $84,700
  • 8 Person Household = $56,400 - $90,200

Springfield Rent & Mortgage Assistance

Springfield’s rent and mortgage assistance program is funded by two federal grants: the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Community Development Block Grant Program. Assistance is available for Springfield residents that have lost income due to COVID-19 and had household income at or below 80% of area median income (AMI) before the income loss.

Each household may receive up to three months’ rent/mortgage and utility payments, with a maximum of $4000 per household. Payment will be made directly to landlords, banks and utility companies. There is no requirement for an eviction or foreclosure notice in order to receive the assistance.

80% AMI Max

  • 1 Person Household = $47,850
  • 2 Person Household = $54,650
  • 3 Person Household = $61,500
  • 4 Person Household = $68,300
  • 5 Person Household = $73,800
  • 6 Person Household = $79,250
  • 7 Person Household = $84,700
  • 8 Person Household = $90,200

Monson Rental Assistance

Monson's rent assistance program is funded by the Town of Monson Community Preservation Committee. 

Assistance is available for Monson residents who currently rent housing as a primary residence in the town of Monson, have household income below 80% of area median income (AMI) at the time of application, and have a housing emergency due to a financial hardship related to COVID-19. 

Each household may receive up to $5000 for overdue rent. Payment will be made directly to landlords.

80% AMI Max

  • 1 Person Household = $47,850
  • 2 Person Household = $54,650
  • 3 Person Household = $61,500
  • 4 Person Household = $68,300
  • 5 Person Household = $73,800
  • 6 Person Household = $79,250
  • 7 Person Household = $84,700
  • 8 Person Household = $90,200

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.  

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