With economic strain amid the COVID-19 pandemic growing, one Boston-area housing agency reported receiving an unprecedented number of new applications for residential and utility aid.
Metro Housing Boston received 2,179 pre-applications for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition in the eight weeks following Gov. Charlie Baker's emergency declaration, a spokesman for the quasi-public agency told State House News Service.
The state-funded program offers up to $4,000 in financial assistance to help households and individuals facing a housing crisis pay rent or utility arrears or other expenses.
The level of need expressed only during the state of emergency surpasses pre-pandemic levels: during all of fiscal year 2019, Metro Housing distributed RAFT funds to 1,719 households, according to a report from the organization. The Department of Housing and Community Development amended and shortened the RAFT application process to facilitate more requests during the crisis, according to Metro Housing.
Applications do not need documentation verifying loss of income, and documents normally required can be excused if they are unavailable because of COVID-19.