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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Emergency Assistance (EA) is the Massachusetts state program providing emergency shelter and support services to eligible families with children and pregnant people who are experiencing homelessness. HomeBASE is the related rehousing program for families that are eligible for EA. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC or HLC) currently administers both programs. (HLC was established in May 2023, and is the successor agency to the Department of Housing and Community Development or DHCD.)

While Massachusetts is often referred to as a right to shelter state for families with children, the eligibility criteria for EA is complex and many families are ineligible for shelter and HomeBASE, while other families are wrongfully denied access to the programs. This guide includes information for families and advocates on 

  • Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE eligibility; 
  • how to apply for benefits; 
  • families’ rights and expectations while participating in the programs; 
  • how to appeal denials, noncompliances, and terminations; 
  • how to access rehousing and homelessness prevention resources; and,
  •  contact information for HLC, legal service organizations, and agencies contracted by HLC to administer HomeBASE and the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program.


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