Important tips

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Rosie's Place
Created June 2014
  • Apply for Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter at Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) offices. The DHCD office is in the same building as the DTA office in each region.
  • Get to the office as early as you can. DHCD offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The application can take all day. DHCD may not take your application if you arrive late in the day.
  • As long as you apply early enough, DHCD must take your application that day. If they do not take your application, ask to speak with a DHCD supervisor or contact an advocate.
  • If you give DHCD a few important documents and it looks like you are eligible, DHCD must place you in shelter right away. This is called “presumptive placement.” You can get the other documents you need after you are in shelter.
  • If DHCD gives you a “verification checklist” and tells you to come back with more documents, ask the Homeless Coordinator, “Can you place my family presumptively and help us get the documents we need?”
  • If DHCD gives you a place in a shelter, go there that night. If you do not go, DHCD can stop you from getting shelter for 1 year. Even if the shelter is far away, go anyway. DHCD will provide transportation to the shelter. Later, you can ask your homeless coordinator for a transfer closer to your home community.
  • If DHCD says you are not eligible, they must give you a written denial notice that states their reasons.
  • If DHCD denies you or turns you away and you have no safe place to stay, ask to speak with a DHCD supervisor, or contact your local legal services office. Call 1-800-342-LAWS (5297) or Find Legal Aid.

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