Housing Resources

During this time of crisis, the City of Cambridge is working hard to ensure that all our residents stay safe and healthy.

 

Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale have been working with the City Council and many City Departments to establish additional resources for residents who have been impacted by the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

 

The Community Development Department, the Department of Human Service Programs' Multi Service Center, and the City’s Housing Liaison are also working together to stay up to date on all court related information and to respond to your housing related questions and concerns. We understand that this crisis affects us all; tenants, homeowners, landlords and property management companies. We hope by working together we will keep our homes and our community intact.

 

Below is important information on various resources as well as some tips and frequently asked questions. We encourage you to reach out to any or all of the newly created resource lines and/or contact any of the staff listed below. 

 

Housing Stabilization Fund

The City of Cambridge COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program serves to provide short term financial assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing housing instability due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program represents the City of Cambridge’s second phase of COVID-19 related resource disbursement for housing assistance. The program will subsidize eligible households whose rent, condominium fees, or cooperative carrying charges are more than 40% of their income at time of application, by providing a two-month subsidy: the amount by which that housing cost exceeds 40% of the household’s current income. We encourage applicants to apply for the COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program online, using the ViewPoint system. More information, as well as the online application, is now available here.

 

Housing Resource Line

The Housing Resource Line was created to assist residents with general information and referral services for housing questions and concerns. To talk with a staff member please call 617-349-9777.

 

Cambridge Community Food Line

The Community Food Line was created to assist residents who are at high risk of food insecurity.  To talk with a staff member please call 617-349-9155.

 

Communication & Support for Seniors

The City of Cambridge Council on Aging is available for questions or assistance by calling 617-349-6220.

 

Eviction & Foreclosure Protections

  • The City of Cambridge issued a Temporary Emergency Eviction Order By the Commissioner of Public Health and the City Manager that Establishes a Moratorium on Eviction Enforcement as well as Non Essential Entry into Dwellings. Click here to learn more.
  • Governor Baker signed legislation into law to protect homeowners and tenants from eviction and foreclosure. An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 emergency ensures housing stability for residents and families. Click here to learn more.

Housing Support

If you or someone you know has a housing question or need, please call 617-349-9777 and leave a detailed message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. If you are able to email, please contact us at the follow email addresses:

 

Tips and FAQs

I have lost income due to COVID-19 and will not be able to pay rent, will I be evicted?

On April 3, 2020, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale, and Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Assaad J. Sayah announced an Emergency Order “Establishing a Moratorium on Eviction Enforcement and Non-Essential Entry by Property Owners and Their Agents Into Occupied Dwelling Units in the City of Cambridge” for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 20, 2020 Governor Baker signed legislation into law to protect homeowners and tenants from eviction and foreclosure. An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 emergency ensures housing stability for residents and families. Click here to learn more. The moratorium will remain in effect for either 120 days from today (Aug. 18) or 45 days following the end of the state of emergency, whichever is sooner. 

Even though you cannot be evicted, responsibility to pay rent continues and, once the moratorium is lifted eviction action can proceed.  HOWEVER, If you provide your management company or landlord proof that you fell behind or were unable to pay rent because of COVID-19, you cannot be charged late fees or, be reported to a credit agency for unpaid rent. 

You must inform your landlord within 30 days of when rent was due (for example if you have not paid May rent, you must provide written notification to the landlord by May 30).

You must include in the letter:

You experienced a financial impact from COVID-19 and you must include detailed information about the impact such as what your income was and how it has changed and why.

For more information and to access a form to use to report your financial impact go to: https://www.mass.gov/regulations/400-CMR-50-covid-19-emergency-regulations

I have lost income due to COVID-19 and will not be able to pay mortgage.

If you are concerned about making upcoming mortgage payments, you should contact your lender as soon as possible. They may put in place provisions for borrowers who are impacted by this crisis. These may include extending payment deadlines or creating payment plans when needed. It is important to contact lenders to discuss your situation, as missed payments can cause late and other collection fees to accrue. If you are having difficulty talking with your lender, please contact us the Housing Resource Line at 617-349-9777.

In addition, Homeowners in 1-4 family owner occupied properties are also protected by the April 20 State Moratorium.

For more information go to: https://www.mass.gov/regulations/400-CMR-50-covid-19-emergency-regulations

My Tenant just told me that lost their job and will have difficulty paying their rent for the next month.

If you are able, please consider working out a payment plan. Also, encourage your tenant to contact us to find out if there are any financial resources available by calling the Housing Resource Line at 617-349-9777.

In addition, if your tenant has a last month’s rent you may be able to use it for advance payment. For more information, go to: https://www.mass.gov/regulations/400-CMR-50-covid-19-emergency-regulations

My lease is up soon and my landlord wants to show the apartment, do I have to let someone in?

Ask them if you can take pictures or a video to share and, refer them to the City of Cambridge Temporary Emergency Eviction Order that Establishes a Moratorium on Eviction Enforcement as well as Non Essential Entry into Dwellings.

I have applied to the Community Development Department for affordable rental or homeownership housing, how can I find updates?

Updates on the status of CDD’s affordable housing programs can be found here on the CDD website.  This information will be updated continually while City offices remain closed.

I am concerned that my utilities will be shut off if I can't make a payment.

The Department of Public Utilities is suspending shut offs during the state of emergency. If you have any questions or are reliant on oil and have run out, please contact dhspfuel@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-6252.

I have a housing court date scheduled in the coming weeks.

Courts have suspended all non-emergency actions, and courthouses are closed to the public except for stipulated emergency matters. However, there are different dates of closure depending on if you are scheduled to be in Housing Court or District Court. and of course, these dates may change depending on the extension or suspension of the declared State of Emergency. As of March 19, 2020 Matters in Housing Court will be rescheduled after April 21, 2020. Matters in District Court will be rescheduled after May 4, 2020. However, these dates could change and, you may receive information requiring a response prior to these dates. The court process can be overwhelming and confusing. During this crisis, it is especially confusing. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact us if you have a pending court date. You may also contact Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services at 617-603-2700 and/or refer to Greater Boston Legal Service’s update on the status of court closures and impacts on eviction court cases.

How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance?

You can file a claim with the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)’s UI Online at www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/claimants. UI Online is available daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Applying through UI Online is the fastest way to get UI benefits. UI Online is an English-only system. If you have trouble completing the application online, you can ask for help by filling out this form: https://www.mass.gov/forms/covid-19-department-of-unemployment-assistance-contact-request.

Assistance is also available in Spanish: https://www.mass.gov/forms/covid-19-solicitud-de-contacto-del-departamento-de-asistencia-al-desempleado

You can apply by telephone by calling 617-626-6800 or 877-626-6800 outside the 617 area code. There are dedicated phone lines for individuals who speak Spanish and Portuguese.

How do I apply for Food Stamps or Cash Assistance?

All local offices are closed to in person visits. However, you can still apply for benefits, follow this link https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/DTA or call the DTA Assistance Line (877) 382- 2363.

How do I contact Social Security?

Social Security offices and service will be available on line or by calling. Please use their secure and convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices or call 1- 800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Also, a note of caution, there are many scammers out their, calling and saying they are from social security-do not call them back and do not give them information! Only use these lines, or a local line if you are given one by these links.

If I need healthcare for COVID-19 related issues as an immigrant, how can that affect my status?

USCIS says Immigrants can use health care to treat COVID-19 without penalty Here is the USCIS link: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge

Additional Resources

Page was posted on 3/18/2020 6:52 PM
Page was last modified on 10/26/2020 11:35 AM
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