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Where can you apply for EA?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2022

Where can you apply for EA?

The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), through its Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS), runs the EA program, and EOHLC workers are located in some Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offices and take EA applications there. As of October 2021, in-person assistance is limited, and EOHLC is encouraging applicants to apply by telephone.

The EA application line phone number is 866-584-0653. See Appendix A.

Typically, families can apply for EA at the ten joint EOHLC/DTA offices listed in Appendix A between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each weekday. You may want to call the office to confirm the hours for that day. The FY23 budget requires EOHLC to maintain office locations in the ten cities and towns that had local offices as of January 1, 2022.

Advocacy Tips

  • You should call or go to your local EOHLC/DTA office as early in the morning as possible since the application process often takes all day. This also applies to telephone applications, when you may be asked to wait for a call back. If you do not receive a call back within one hour and need shelter that day, keep calling back. Be sure to specify that you do not have a place to stay that night.
  • EOHLC should take your application the same day you go to apply. If a EOHLC worker tries to send you away without taking your application and you need a place to stay right away, ask to speak to a EOHLC Supervisor or contact an advocate immediately.
  • EOHLC should ask you which language you prefer to communicate in when you apply. If they do not ask, tell the EOHLC worker your preferred language. If you speak Spanish or another common language, you have the right to receive important documents, including the application, in your language. You have the right to get free oral interpretation from EOHLC.
  • EOHLC may try to discourage you from applying for EA by suggesting that you stay with friends or relatives. If you have no safe place to go and you appear to meet eligibility rules based on your own statements and other information EOHLC has, you have a right to be placed in EA shelter right away. See What If You Do Not Have Proof of Eligibility? and How long does it take to be placed in EA shelter?.
  • If you apply for EA but EOHLC says you are not eligible, EOHLC should give you a written denial notice that explains why you were denied and that you have a right to appeal. See What are your EA appeal rights?  You have the right to apply for shelter, even if the worker suggests you will not be eligible. It is important to get the reason for denial in writing, especially if you want to ask for an appeal. EOHLC sometimes denies families for an incorrect reason, so it is important to get the reason for the denial in writing. Once you receive a written notice of denial, you can appeal the denial, or show the notice to an advocate for advice and assistance.
  • EOHLC does not take EA applications at every DTA office. This may violate state law. St. 2009, c. 27, § 142. If this causes a problem for you, contact an advocate.

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