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Homelessness

Resources for families experiencing homelessness

If your family lives in any of the following situations, you qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act:

  1. In a shelter.
  2. In a motel or campground due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodation.
  3. In a car, park, abandoned building, or bus or train station.
  4. Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship.

Your eligible children have the right to:

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers related documents.
  • Enroll in the local school: or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference and is feasible.  
  • At your request, receive transportation up to one hour to and from the school of origin.
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided for the other students, according to your children's needs.

Resources

  • Ethan Steele, Case Manager 
    Homeless Prevention Council 
    14 Old Tote Road | PO Box 828
    Orleans, MA 02653 
    Cell: (774) 801-9502 
    Office: (508) 619-4336 
  • Educational Stability - DESE Website
  • Massachusetts Homeless Youth Handbook
  • Chatham Housing Authority
    240 Crowell Road
    Chatham, MA 02633
    508-945-0478
  • Harwich Housing Authority
    732 Main Street
    Harwich, MA 02645
    508-430-7515
  • Housing Assistance Corporation Cape Cod
    460 West Main Street
    Hyannis, MA 02601
    508-771-5400 
    HAC is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and offers a continuum of housing programs that evolve with the changing needs of the community. HAC educates, trains and counsels with HAC’s consumer education department; weatherizes and conducts energy rehabs for low-income and market-rate properties; develops affordable housing for seniors, families and individuals; and provides an opportunity to become a homeowner with a full-service nonprofit real estate office.
    HAC also provides emergency shelter and homelessness prevention assistance for individuals and families; administration of the largest housing subsidy program in our region; and family self sufficiency and employment services.
  • Homeless Prevention Council
    508-255-9667
    The Homeless Prevention Council provides professional case management services that give extensive counseling and guidance to those at risk of becoming homeless. This aspect of the client services includes: advocacy and access to housing programs, funding, budgeting and negotiation for rent and mortgage.
  • Department of Transitional Assistance
    181 North Street
    Hyannis, MA 02601
    508-862-6600
  • Emergency Housing Assistance
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
    1-866-584-0653

Statewide Resources

  • Emergency Assistance Shelter Intake
    Applying for shelter is entirely done by phone 866-584-0653. Eligibility requirements:
    • Families must be at or below 115% of poverty
    • Massachusetts residency
    • Include a child under 21 or pregnant mother
    • Lost housing due to an EA-eligible cause of homelessness
      • Fire, flood, or natural disaster
      • Eviction, condemnation, or foreclosure (no-fault or excused fault)
      • Housing situation that exposes children to substantial health or safety risk
      • Domestic violence
    • No feasible alternative housing
      If families need assistance, they can be referred to local legal aid assistance.
  • Legal Aid
    Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation,  Legal Aid Map or Legal Resource Finder. Answer a few questions – we’ll give you contact information for legal aid offices, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you for free or at low cost.
  • Greater Boston Legal Services
    Direct line for housing issues 617-603-1807. Every week, Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) provides free legal assistance and representation on civil (noncriminal) matters to hundreds of the neediest residents in the city of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns. When they have nowhere else to turn, low-income families and individuals, elders, and people with disabilities look to GBLS for help to secure the most basic necessities of life.
  • Mass211
    Mass 211 is the centralized hub for comprehensive information about and referral to the complete spectrum of services in Massachusetts that address the social determinants of healthy lives and communities. We provide a stigma free 24/7 contact center and public portal website that empowers people with the information they need to make informed decisions and to get the right help for their circumstances. Mass211 referral for rental/housing assistance including RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) and ERMA (Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance
  • Family Resource Centers
    There are twenty-nine Family Resources Centers across Massachusetts. Can you imagine a place in your neighborhood where people of all ages, incomes, and abilities are welcome to develop helpful and caring connections with each other? A place where skilled and thoughtful professionals help parents, children, and families find emotional support and practical assistance to succeed in life? A place that offers sensible solutions to families seeking health, safety, educational, and employment services? That place is part of the Massachusetts Family Resource Centers (FRCs) network and is already in your own neighborhood.  
  • Municipal Rental Assistance Programs
    Many municipalities across the commonwealth are offering rental/housing assistance to residents funded locally and through donations.  Contact your Town/City Hall.
  • Project Bread and Food Hotline / 1-800-645-8333
    No matter what you’re going through, we understand that food is a must. We want to help you.  We can connect you to programs that will help you afford groceries and put food on the table.