Thanks to REALTOR advocacy efforts, on June 30, Governor Baker announced the creation of a new program to provide direct rent and mortgage assistance. The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program will distribute $20 million in funds to help households that have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 state of emergency, dating back to April 1. The program aligns with MAR’s advocacy for additional housing assistance and specific talking points from our Week of Advocacy. Additional details include:
- Up to $4,000 per household
- For low-income households experiencing financial hardship
- Those not covered by the COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)
- Eligibility up to 80% of Area Median Income
- Eligible households can access funds by applying through Berkshire Housing
We are thrilled that the Administration has taken this important and balanced approach towards helping families struggling with housing insecurity.
MAR Advocacy Team also reports that, “On a parallel track, the House passed and the Senate Committee on Ways and Means is currently considering a supplemental budget bill containing an additional $20 million in funding to supplement the COVID-19 RAFT program and expand grants for eligible households to up to $10,000 per year, another element supported by MAR’s advocacy. The proposed COVID-19 RAFT expansion also reserves at least one-third of funds for households at or below 30% AMI. Thank you to everyone who participated in MAR’s Week of Advocacy for helping to raise the profile of these issues. MAR will continue to advocate for much needed housing assistance.”