Keeping people in their homes

and out of homelessness

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 low-income families, couples, and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. RAFT offers flexible financial assistance designed to meet each person's particular needs. Eligible uses include:

  • moving cost assistance
  • rent and utility arrears
  • rental stipends
  • mortgage arrears
  • utility bills.
  • helps families, couples, and individuals 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, couples, and individuals cannot get more than $4000 within a 12-month period.

New Assistance for Springfield Residents

The City of Springfield is making available $2 million in grant funding for renters and homeowners who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program will pay up to three months’ rent, mortgage, and utility charges for low to moderate income Springfield residents whose income has been adversely impacted by the pandemic public health orders. Learn more. 

The program will be operated in conjunction with Way Finder’s other emergency assistance programs, including the state-funded Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program.

Springfield residents can apply for the funds by completing an assessment at www.wayfinders.org/hcec-assessment or calling 413-233-1600 to complete the assessment on the phone with a Way Finders staff member.

COVID-19 State of Emergency

New funding has enabled the RAFT program to create a special program for eligible households facing housing instability as a result of a COVID-19 related housing crisis due to a loss of wages or increase in expenses, for example, due to medical expenses.

Way Finders is conducting RAFT assessments online and by phone only until offices are re-opened to the public (stay updated at www.wayfinders.org/covid-19). We are not able to accept walk-in requests at this time. Please visit www.wayfinders.org/hcec-assessment or contact 413-233-1600 to complete an assessment.

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Who is eligible for RAFT?

To be eligible for RAFT:

  • A family, couple, or individual 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.
  • 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, couple, or individual 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.

Where and when can you access RAFT?

You can meet with a Way Finders' Homeless Prevention Counselor at the following locations to determine if you are eligible to be considered for financial assistance. 

Way Finders Springfield Housing Center
322 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01105
Monday - Thursday 8:30am to 2:30pm

Springfield Housing Court
37 Elm Street, Springfield, MA 01102
Thursday 8:00am to 4:00pm

Hadley Housing Court
116 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035
Monday 8:00am to 12:00pm


Community Action
17 New South Street, Suite 116, Northampton, MA 01060

Monday
Appointments 1:00 - 3:00pm*
Walk -ins 3:00 - 4:00pm

Tuesday
Appointments 8:30am - 10:30am*
Walk-ins 11:30am - 12:30pm

Wednesday
Appointments 2:00 - 4:00pm*
Walk-ins 1:00 - 2:00pm

Amherst Community Connections
236 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002

Wednesday
Appointments 8:30 - 10:30am*
Walk-ins 10:30 - 12:00pm

*Appointments for Community Action can be made by contacting 413-233-1500

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 Way Finders' Housing Center to complete the Intake Assessment form. You will then meet with a Housing Counselor to determine eligibility. 

When you visit Way Finders to be assessed you must have:

HCEC Assessment Required Documents

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