City of Cambridge to begin Accepting Applications for Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19

The City of Cambridge today announced that it will begin accepting applications for the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund on Monday, April 13, 2020. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was developed in response to the public health crisis created by COVID-19, has been receiving donations to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Through the generosity of the public and local corporations, the Fund so far has raised more than $3.2 million. The City of Cambridge seeks to assist as many people as possible through these funds.

Under guidelines issued by the Fund’s Trustees, the City will be prioritizing applicants who demonstrate a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. The funds will be allocated for rent and/or utility payments or other household needs. Funds will also be allocated for mortgage payments for homes purchased through the City’s affordable homeownership programs. While residents may be eligible for 3 out of the 4 identified categories, a maximum payment per household will apply; no household will be eligible to receive more than an overall total payment of $4,000 at this time. Immigration status will not be a factor in determining applicant eligibility.

“We are deeply grateful to the individuals and companies in the Cambridge community who have come together to provide a safety net for Cambridge families in this time of need,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “I also want to recognize the diligence of my colleagues, City Manager Louis DePasquale, and his team. We are all working around the clock to implement systems to facilitate quick distribution of these funds. As we cannot predict when we will be through this pandemic, establishing the framework for supporting our community now is incredibly important. Cambridge families can be assured that every effort is being made for timely distribution of these much-needed funds as we face this unprecedented crisis”.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that has gone into rapidly designing an application process that will be used to distribute the donations to the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund,” said Louis A. DePasquale, Cambridge City Manager. “I am even prouder that the City will begin issuing checks to approved applicants as soon as next week. The City has been working to protect and support the wellbeing of our community, and these monies will further support individuals and families in our community who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.”

To be eligible to receive funds, applicants must meet the following guidelines:

  • Applicants must be Cambridge residents.
  • Applicants must be Cambridge tenants or an owner of a home purchased through the City of Cambridge Affordable Homeownership Program.
  • Applicants’ income must have been at or below 100% of the Area Median Income Prior to loss or reduction of income due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis (e.g. 100% for a 4-person household is $119,000)
  • Applicants must demonstrate a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

To support residents in applying to the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, the City will launch an online application process on Monday, April 13, 2020, that allows applicants to complete their application and upload necessary documentation. There are four basic steps in the application process:

  • Complete the application
  • Upload supporting documents
  • Sign and date a statement of verification
  • Submit the application online

The City has also set up a phone system to provide support to applicants who do not have access to the internet, who have low digital literacy skills, or who have general questions about the application process. Multilingual support in seven languages besides English will be available. The phone line, 617-349-9797, will be live on Monday, April 13, 2020.

“We are extremely grateful to the City Manager, the Mayor and their staff, who have guided and supported all of this work,” said Ellen Semonoff, Assistant City Manager for Human Services. “Over 50 City staff will be engaged in trainings so that they can support applicants and participate in the application review and approval process. The work has been led by a dedicated group of staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the funds will be distributed in a fair and equitable manner.”

Donations to the Fund can continue to be made at cambridgema.gov/mayorsdisasterrelieffund

For additional information on submitting applications to the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, visit www.Cambridgema.gov/mayorsfund

Page was posted on 4/8/2020 6:52 PM
Page was last modified on 4/9/2020 6:23 PM
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