Through our Housing Consumer Education Center, South Shore Housing provides a variety of housing education and counseling services to residents of Plymouth and Bristol counties. We offer first-time homebuyer and homeowner education, financial literacy training, predatory lending and foreclosure prevention counseling, as well as affordable housing search assistance. Our housing services also include supportive and transitional housing services for special needs populations and homeless families who are victims of domestic violence through the Greater Plymouth Area Supportive Housing Program and the Scattered Site Transitional Apartment Program. Our Family Self Sufficiency Program provides economic and educational support and guidance to families receiving rental assistance who wish to become more economically and financially self sufficient.
The Residential Aid to Families in Transition (RAFT) financial assistance program will be administered by South Shore Housing and implemented by our Housing Consumer Education (HCEC) team.
The goal of RAFT is to provide short term, limited financial assistance to help a family (with a least one child under the age of 21) who is homeless move into housing or families at risk of homelessness to retain housing.
If you are facing one of the following crisis', please contact our HCEC Team to see if they can assist you
Eviction; including housing provide by family or friends
Doubled - up ina must leave situation ie; violation of host’s lease and landlord has threatened eviction; host-guest conflict
Health and Safety; housing that has been condemned by housing officials and is no longer, or never was fit for human habitation.
Foreclosure of owner-occupied home or of the rental property, which will result in loss of housing for the tenant.
Severe Overcrowding due to the number of persons exceeds health and or safety standards for the housing unit size and the landlord has given a warning to reduce occupancy or be evicted
Fire/Flood/Natural Disaster causing homelessness
Domestic Violence in household such that the family cannot remain in the housing situation due to risk of violence
Other crisis that will result in housing loss within 30 days or less.
RAFT is a tool of the South Shore Housing HCEC. Families cannot simply come into our HCEC and apply for RAFT; instead families will complete an HCEC intake form to document their housing situation. This information will be used to develop the best response to meet the family’s need(s). Using existing networks and relationships, applicants may be referred to community based programs to try to maximize income/benefit(s); such as fuel assistance, utility discount rate, unemployment, social security, food stamps, TAFDC, Medicaid/Mass Health and/or funding sources such as RAFT. Community partners can refer families to HCEC (781) 422-4200.
RAFT referrals/applications will be processed based on the need of the family and the ability of the RAFT funds to preserve their current housing situation. Not less than 90% of the financial assistance funds shall be provided to households with an income not greater than 30% of the area median income (AMI). Not more than 10% of the funds shall be provided to households with an income greater than 30% but no more than 50% of AMI for persons that are homeless and moving into subsidized or private housing, or at risk of becoming homeless due to a specific reduction of income or increase in expenses.
Use of funds includes rent arrearages (summary process and complaint filed with court system), mortgage arrearage (if applicant is a renter, letter from landlord stating that the family must leave due to unit being in foreclosure or if applicant is an owner, the notice of intent to foreclose by the lender), rental assistance in the form of a monthly stipend, utility arrearages, security deposits, first/last month rent, furniture, and employment-related transportation costs to secure or maintain employment. Applicants will be evaluated for, reason for request and potential support services available for this family to assist them in stabilizing their housing going forward. The requested amount of assistance cannot exceed $4000.00 in a 12 month period.
Qualification for RAFT funds for New Leasing: In order to qualify for RAFT funds for leasing a new unit the applicant must provide information/documentation which substantiates that the applicant needs to move in order to avoid homelessness. Acceptable reasons for needing to move include:
- Moving due to non-renewal of current lease ( no fault of applicant)
- Moving due to eviction (no fault of the applicant)
- Current unit not in compliance with minimum health and safety standards ( no fault of applicant)
- Current unit is overcrowded in accordance with State Sanitary Code
- Relocation makes housing financially sustainable in comparison to current location
- Medical Necessity
- Violence or abuse in the household (family is either living in a domestic violence shelter or in other temporary housing but cannot remain there or return to previous housing situation).
Subsidized households: Households residing in subsidized housing cannot receive RAFT assistance in the form of a monthly stipend. Households may receive RAFT for move in costs and/or for rent arrearage as long as the arrearage is directly attributable to one of the following: a) a disability, including a mental health impairment that caused the tenant to be unable to manage his/her finances, b) a one-time compelling and unforeseen expense such as funeral expenses for an immediate family member or medical expenses not covered by insurance, c) a sudden decrease in income that does not trigger an adjustment of rent such as short term unpaid medical leave from work and/or d) a time lag between tenant compliance with notifying the housing provider of a change in income and the rent adjustment being made by the housing provider.
Applicants cannot receive RAFT if they are already participating in the HomeBase Program.
Rental Housing 101 Workshops
Each week we will present workshops designed to assist tenants to locate and access affordable rental housing. We will review the the Housing Rental Voucher application process, address Emergency Rental Housing Concerns, provide information on affordable housing resources in our area, information on shelter availibility and other concerns around rentin g. All workshops are open to the public. Reservations are recommended for all classes. To RSVP call 781-422-4274 or e-mail email@example.com.
Classes will be held on the following dates and times in our Kingston office at 169 Summer St. Kingston, MA, 02364 and the New Bedford office we share with Neighborhood Housing Services at 80 Rivet St., New Bedford, MA, 02743
Wed Feb 5th 2-4
Wed Feb 12th 10-12
Wed Feb 19th 2-4
Wed Feb 26th 10-12
Wed Mar 12th 10-12 & 2-4
Wed Mar 26th 10-12
Starting January 2013, I will have weekly office hours in New Bedford, Thursdays from 10 – 3:30. Anyone wishing to receive affordable rental housing in New Bedford should call me to schedule an appointment, 781-422-4274.
FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER SEMINARS
South Shore Housing has been granted the Seal of Approval by the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative in recognition of the quality of our homebuyer seminars. This achievement allows graduates of our classes to apply for special funding in conjunction with their mortgages. Workshops are run on a continual basis and consist of eight hours of instruction.
The homebuyer education workshop helps potential homebuyers with all aspects of the home buying process. Homebuyers are given information on how much house they can afford, how to qualify for a loan, the application process, the variety of loan products available, budgeting and money management, credit as it relates to home buying, working with realtors in finding and selecting a home, home inspections, home insurance, the attorney’s role in purchasing a home and the closing process. With each series of workshops we include guest speakers with expertise in the mortgage and homebuying field.
Graduates of the course receive a certificate that satisfies the homebuyer counseling requirement for MHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac financing. These funders offer many low interest mortgage products, and assist buyers with the down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a home.
For more information on these workshops, dates, locations and times please contact Veronica Truell at 781-422-4225 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Property owner workshops offer new or seasoned landlords in Plymouth and Bristol counties an opportunity to meet with skilled and knowledgeable professionals to address topics ranging from security deposits, leases, legal issues, fair housing law, lead paint and tenant selection and screening.
If you would like more information about these workshops or would like to be added to our email list of landlords who are notified of upcoming events, please send your email address to: email@example.com, 781-422-4225
This service is available to all landlords.
MONEY MANAGEMENT AND FINANCIAL LITERACY
South Shore Housing offers financial literacy workshops for those who need help with budgeting, money management, banking and credit issues. Counseling is also avaiable to help assess your financial and housing situation, establish achievable housing and financial goals and to assess your credit situation and pursue avenues to establish credit.
If you would like more information contact Veronica Truell @ 781-422-4225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Empowerment/ Budgeting Classes.
In this class you will be introduced to the different financial tools and trends in cost cutting while increasing your personal savings. At the conclusion of this session you will understand important budgeting concepts, time tested strategies, and be able to see and easily implement savings for you and your family. Classes are held at our Kingston Office at 169 Summer St. Kingston, MA, 02364. For more info contact Veronica Truell 781-422-4225, email@example.com.
Foreclosure Prevention Counseling
Foreclosure and the loss of a home can often be prevented if homeowners act quickly and seek appropriate information and guidance. Individual counseling is available for homeowners having difficulty meeting mortgage payments or are in danger of default. All counseling services are free and confidential. To speak to a counselor call or e-mail Veronica Fordel at 781-422-4274, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forestalling Foreclosure and Rebuilding Lives
"Without the hard work and dedication of the HUD counselor at SSHDC I do not know if I could have made it through the long and confusing process of my loan modification. My daughter and I thank you."
Tom, a Beneficiary of SSH's foreclosure counseling.
Tom had just lost his fiancée to cancer. As if that weren't tragic enough, he and their 6-year-old daughter were also about to lose their home to foreclosure.
Tom was referred to South Shore Housing to inquire about funding available through the state to assist him with his late mortgage payments. SSH staff discovered that he was ineligible for the funding because he was over-income.
This could have been the end of the story, and a sad ending at that. But Marguerite Pujalte, SSH's HUD Certified Housing Counselor didn't give up. She discovered that his default was due to a temporary loss of income as he cared for his ailing fiancée and then, after her death, struggled to raise their daughter alone.
Marguerite contacted his mortgage company and won a stay of foreclosure. She persuaded them to change the terms of the loan to a fixed rate at 4.25% — 4% lower than the original loan. She then had the arrearages rolled back into the loan and extended the term to 30 years. By doing this Tom would have much lower fixed payments on the loan that he could afford. In the process he will rebuild his credit. More importantly, a man who lost his fiancé and a girl who lost her mother were at least spared the additional indignity of losing their home.