EA Placements and Terminations

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2019

How long does it take to be placed in EA shelter?

If your family has no place to stay and you appear to meet the other EA eligibility rules, you should be placed immediately. Recent policy changes mean that families should be placed “but for not having spent 1 night” in a place not meant for human habitation. However, it is not yet clear exactly how this policy change will be implemented.  

In addition, DHCD may refuse to take an application, or may delay taking or finalizing an EA application and making a decision. So it is important to go to DHCD and begin the process of applying in advance of when you are actually eligible, so that you can be placed as soon as possible once your family has no safe place to stay.

Advocacy Tips

  • DHCD should not delay placing you in shelter if you qualify for EA. Contact an advocate if DHCD tries to postpone placing you and you have no safe place to stay.
  • DHCD has an agreement with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to do health and safety assessments of housing arrangements that families claim are not safe or no longer available. The assessments should not delay placements in EA shelter. If the assessment cannot be done immediately or if you can no longer stay in the housing that is to be assessed or it is not safe and you are otherwise eligible for EA, you should be placed presumptively until the assessment can be completed (see What if you do not have proof of your eligibility when apply for EA?) Contact an advocate if you feel discouraged from seeking shelter because of a DCF assessment or if you have nowhere to stay and DHCD is delaying your placement pending a health and safety assessment.

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