HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3218        FILED ON: 2/18/2021

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1385


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Marjorie C. Decker and Liz Miranda


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act providing upstream homelessness prevention assistance to families, youth, and adults.






Date Added:

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex


Liz Miranda

5th Suffolk


Lindsay N. Sabadosa

1st Hampshire


Michael P. Kushmerek

3rd Worcester


Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk


David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex


Christina A. Minicucci

14th Essex


Natalie M. Higgins

4th Worcester


James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol


Carlos González

10th Hampden


Erika Uyterhoeven

27th Middlesex


Susannah M. Whipps

2nd Franklin


Christine P. Barber

34th Middlesex


Joanne M. Comerford

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester


Patricia A. Duffy

5th Hampden


Adam G. Hinds

Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden


Steven C. Owens

29th Middlesex


Tram T. Nguyen

18th Essex


Nick Collins

First Suffolk


Jon Santiago

9th Suffolk


Steven Ultrino

33rd Middlesex


Tricia Farley-Bouvier

3rd Berkshire


Linda Dean Campbell

15th Essex


Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex


Paul J. Donato

35th Middlesex


Orlando Ramos

9th Hampden


Carol A. Doherty

3rd Bristol


James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester


John C. Velis

Second Hampden and Hampshire


Bud L. Williams

11th Hampden


Adrian C. Madaro

1st Suffolk


Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex


Marcos A. Devers

16th Essex


Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex


Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk


Andres X. Vargas

3rd Essex


Danillo A. Sena

37th Middlesex


Vanna Howard

17th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3218        FILED ON: 2/18/2021

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1385

By Representatives Decker of Cambridge and Miranda of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1385) of Marjorie C. Decker, Liz Miranda and others that the Department of Housing and Community Development administer a residential assistance for families in transition homelessness prevention program.  Housing.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-Second General Court



An Act providing upstream homelessness prevention assistance to families, youth, and adults.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 23B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 30 the following section:-

Section 31. (a) Subject to appropriation, the department of housing and community development shall administer the residential assistance for families in transition homelessness prevention program for households whose incomes are at or below 50 per cent of the area median income and who are at risk of homelessness, eviction, foreclosure or utility shut-off within the next 12 months. For the purposes of this program, to receive cash benefits or other services, it is not necessary for a household to be subject to the summary process under chapter 239 or have received a shut-off notice from a utility company. Risk of eviction, foreclosure and utility shut-off may be determined by certified statements from the landlord, mortgage holder, utility company, or the applicant household verifying outstanding rent, mortgage or utility costs and the household’s current inability to pay said fees. The department shall ensure that not less than 50 per cent of the funds be provided to households with incomes not greater than 30 per cent of area median income. Eligible households shall include, but not be limited to, families with children under the age of 21, elders, persons with disabilities, and unaccompanied youth. Services and cash benefits under the program shall be made available to households for the prevention of the loss of subsidized or unsubsidized housing. Cash benefits for arrearages shall not exceed the actual liability. Eligible households may receive benefits for short-term rental or utility payments to offset future costs, and to pay for other expenses that otherwise would leave the household at risk of homelessness. In administering the program, the department shall coordinate with the department of transitional assistance, member agencies and offices of the Massachusetts interagency council on housing and homelessness and the agencies contracted to administer the residential assistance for families in transition program on behalf of eligible households served by those agencies and offices so as streamline the application process, provide additional support services, and better promote upstream homelessness prevention and housing stability.

(b) The department shall annually, on or before December 31, issue a report on the rental and mortgage arrearage assistance program created by this section. The report shall be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means; the Joint Committee on Housing; and the House and Senate Clerks. The report shall include but not be limited to the following information:

(i) the referral source for each household and number of households referred by said source;

(ii) the number of applications requested, the number of applications completed, the number of applications approved;

(iii) the number of applications rejected and the reasons for denial;

(iv) the household income and demographic information for each qualifying household and its members.  This information shall be provided by zip code and cumulatively;

(v) the monthly rent or mortgage liability for each qualifying household and the amount of each arrearage payment; and

(vi) the housing status of each qualifying household at six, twelve, and twenty-four months after receipt of services or cash benefits.