EA Placements and Terminations

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2022

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. When families appear eligible, have no safe place to stay that night, and there are no available shelter spaces, DHCD will sometimes place families in hotels paid for by a nonprofit until a placement opens in the shelter system.

Policy changes that have been in effect since 2019 require that families be placed in shelter “but for not having spent 1 night” in a place not meant for human habitation. As of the date of publication, however, DHCD has not issued guidance to field offices about how this policy change will be implemented.

In addition, DHCD sometimes refuses to take an application, or delays taking or finalizing an EA application and making a decision. If you have no safe place to stay and DHCD will not finalize a decision or give you a presumptive placement, contact an advocate.

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
    Part 2 ▪ EA Placements and Terminations 30 arrangements that families report 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 applying for shelter because of an assessment or if you have nowhere to stay and DHCD is delaying your placement pending a health and safety assessment.

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