Financial Assistance Program Helps Single Mom Keep Her Home
Working in a restaurant when the COVID-19 pandemic struck was a recipe for disaster.
The entire hospitality industry was hit very hard, with some establishments eventually closing permanently.
Angela, a single mother of three, worked as a bartender/server at a restaurant in Woburn at the time.
“I had no idea what I was going to do when we first closed,” says Angela. “I needed to know how I was going to pay rent and put food on the table for my kids.”
The restaurant opened in a couple weeks for takeout business only, but much of the staff did not want to go back because of the health risk, but Angela was willing to seize the opportunity.
“I was only making 20% of what I was making previously, but I knew I would still have a job when and if the pandemic ended. I have three kids to feed so that was extremely important to me.”
Angela used savings, some help from family, and the little salary she was making to pay her rent for a while, but it became clear pretty quickly that she was going to have trouble meeting her bills moving forward. That is when a colleague told her about RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition).
RAFT is a homelessness prevention program for households with low incomes that are experiencing a housing crisis. It is a state-funded program through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). In response to the pandemic, additional state and federal funds were made available for housing assistance.
Angela applied for RAFT in late 2020 and was approved in early 2021, covering her rent through half of June. It was around that time that COVID cases began to surge, and the restaurant was again impacted. She applied for assistance a second time and was approved, covering additional rent through October.
“I was hoping that I would not need additional financial help, but very glad that the programs in place allowed me to apply a second time. If things don’t get better, I know that this safety net is in place to help me keep a roof over my family’s head.
“I am so thankful that I learned about Metro Housing and the resources that they were able to provide me. This assistance has made my life better, because for a while, things were very scary. Metro Housing has been a godsend for me and my daughters.”
"For a while, things were very scary. Metro Housing has been a godsend for me and my daughters.”
The state-funded RAFT program is a homelessness prevention program for households with very low incomes experiencing a housing crisis. Traditionally, eligible households applied for up to $4,000 in emergency assistance over 12 months to retain existing housing, obtain new housing, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless. With the pandemic, RAFT funding was supplemented with two other emergency housing payment assistance programs - ERMA (Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance) and ERAP (Emergency Rent Assistance Program) – as well as multiple municipality-specific options.