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MRA Administering the Malden Rental Assistance Fund to Assist Low-Income Malden Renters Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

On behalf of the City of Malden, the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) is administering the Malden Rental Assistance Fund to assist low-income Malden renters affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will cover the cost of one month’s rent for an estimated 300-400 eligible low-income households.
 

We are now accepting pre-applications through Thursday, May 28, 2020.  Click here to complete your pre-application.
 

Need help? Read our guide:
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To be eligible for rental assistance, you must meet the following criteria:

You must be a Malden resident who rents your home.
Your household must be low income. See the income limits below, and FAQs for how to calculate your income.
You must be unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
 

Eligible households who complete the pre-application form will be entered into a lottery. Households selected in the lottery will receive assistance in the form of one month’s rent, payable to their landlord.
 

Low-income households are those earning no more than 50% of the Area Median Income, based on calendar year 2019. The income limit is based on the number of people living in your household, including any roommates, children, and immediate or extended family living with you.
 

Income Limits:

$41,500 for a household of 1 person.
$47,400 for a household of 2 people.
$53,350 for a household of 3 people.
$59,250 for a household of 4 people.
$64,000 for a household of 5 people.
$68,750 for a household of 6 people.
$73,500 for a household of 7 people.
$78,250 for a household of 8 people.
 

If you are selected in the lottery, the MRA will contact you by email and invite you to work with our housing provider to complete a full application form, including backup documentation. Failure to provide accurate information in the pre-application may result in your removal from the program. Failure to respond to the housing provider in a timely fashion may result in your assistance going to someone else.
 

To be considered for the lottery, complete the pre-application form before 11:59 pm on May 28, 2020. You can view the form here: https://maldenredevelopment.formstack.com/forms/malden_rental_assistance...
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you need help completing the form, you may contact rent@maldenredevelopment.com. Please include your name, address, and phone number. If you do not speak English, please indicate the language you speak and we will provide translation services.
 

Who is eligible for rental assistance? What type of assistance will I receive?
Low-income Malden renters who are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are eligible to apply. Examples include families with children, seniors, people living alone, and people living with roommates. Eligible households that are selected in the lottery will receive assistance in the form of one month’s rent, payable to their landlord.

How does the lottery work?
The MRA will use the pre-application to determine which households are eligible for this program. Eligible households will be assigned a number and entered into a lottery. The MRA will conduct the lottery after the pre-application window has closed to determine the order in which people are invited to apply. The MRA will publish the results (with no personal information included, to protect privacy) and will reach out via email to the applicants who have been selected. Our housing partners will also contact you if you have been selected, and invite you to submit a full application.

What do I need to do if I’m selected? What documents do I need to provide?
If you are selected, you will be required to submit documents to the MRA’s housing provider to verify your eligibility and to help us provide you with rental assistance. While your exact situation may vary, households will be asked to provide a copy of their lease/ rental agreement, information about their landlord, and proof of household income (see question 6). We will also need information on your landlord so we can submit payment to them. Some households may be asked to provide additional documentation. We will never ask about your citizenship status or ask for any immigration documentation.
The MRA is committed to your privacy, and will only share your information with our contractors as needed for the administration of this program. If you are selected and approved, your application may be subject to a monitoring by the MRA and HUD in order to meet CDBG program requirements. Your information will not be shared outside of the MRA, HUD, or our contractors who are working on this program.

How soon will I get the assistance? What month will the assistance apply for?
Once the lottery is held, we will refer selected applications to our housing provider. The selected applicants will work with the housing provider to complete the full application, including backup documentation. The housing provider will help answer any questions you have, and will review your application once it is complete. If the housing provider approves your application, they will submit it to the MRA for final approval and payment. We plan to provide payment to landlords within 30 days of the lottery being conducted, but the timeline is dependent on how quickly the full applications are completed.The assistance will cover one month’s rent, but we generally do not specify which month the assistance will apply to. You should speak to your landlord if you have questions about how the assistance will be applied.

What do I do if I can’t fill out the form online because of a disability, lack of Internet access, a language barrier, or some other reason? 
Contact the Malden Redevelopment Authority at rent@maldenredevelopment.com or, if you cannot use email, call 781-324-5720 ext. 0 and leave a message with your full name, address, phone number, and the challenge you are having.

How do I calculate my 2019 gross household income?
Your 2019 gross household income is the total amount of income earned, before taxes, of every adult in your household between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. Income earned by members of your household who are under the age of 18 should not be counted.
You can check your 2019 taxes, W-2s, or other forms to find your total income. You can also estimate your income based on paystubs or similar documents. Include in your calculation all sources of income, such as tips, unemployment, Social Security, pension, or investments.      
      
How do I calculate my household size?
Your household size is the number of people who live in your apartment/ unit with you. Include any roommates, parents, siblings, children, cousins, or other family members, any friends, and anyone else who lives with you. If someone in your household lives in multiple locations, you should count them if they live at your household more than 50% of the time.

Why do you need to know the number of bedrooms in my unit?
We cap the amount of monthly rental assistance we provide so that we can help as many households as possible. These caps are based in part on the number of bedrooms in your unit. See question 13 for more information.

How do I know if I’m eligible for unemployment benefits?
If you have recently lost your job or seen a reduction in income, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Learn more at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-unemployment-in.... Note that, due to COVID-19, Massachusetts has expanded the unemployment insurance program so that more people will be eligible. Your eligibility for unemployment benefits does not impact your eligibility for the Malden rental assistance program, but it may impact your likelihood of being selected in the lottery.

Why do you need to know if I live in public housing or receive a Section 8 voucher?
Living in public housing or receiving a Section 8 voucher does not impact your eligibility for this program or your likelihood of being selected in the lottery. We may require different documentation of rent when we process your application. If you live in public housing or receive a Section 8 voucher, and you have experienced a loss of income, you should consider asking your landlord or voucher sponsor about a re-certification of income. This could reduce the amount of rent that you are responsible for paying.

What do I do if I’m being evicted for non-payment of rent?
There is a statewide moratorium on evictions until after the public health emergency has been lifted. If you are being evicted for non-payment of rent, you should contact Greater Boston Legal Services at 617-603-1807 or an attorney immediately.

What do I do if I am homeless?
This program only serves low-income Malden renters. If you are homeless, please contact the City of Malden’s Director of Human Services and Community Outreach Karen Colón-Hayes at khayes@cityofmalden.org or 781-397-7144 for assistance in finding resources or services that may be available.

Is there a cap to how much assistance I can receive?
You will receive rental assistance equal to one month’s rent. This assistance is capped at $1,715 for a studio apartment, $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment, $2,311 for a two-bedroom apartment, $2,880 for a three-bedroom apartment, $3,131 for a four-bedroom apartment, and $3,600 for a five-bedroom apartment.

If I’m not selected in the lottery, what should I do?
There may be other programs available to assist you. Please contact the City of Malden’s Director of Human Services and Community Outreach Karen Colón-Hayes at khayes@cityofmalden.org or 781-397-7144 for assistance in finding other resources or services.

Am I eligible if I’m an immigrant? Is this assistance included in the public charge rule?
We do not collect information about immigration status. Immigration status does not affect eligibility for this program. Rental assistance is not included in the public charge determination.

 Why are you asking about my race and ethnicity?
We collect this information for data collection purposes only. Your race and ethnicity do not impact your eligibility for rental assistance or your likelihood of being selected in the lottery. We use the aggregate data to ensure that our program is accessible to everyone in our community.

Can these funds cover the cost of utilities?
No. However, there are other programs that may be able to assist you, such as ABCD’s Fuel Assistance program, which you can learn more about here: https://bostonabcd.org/service/fuel-assistance/

Will there be more funding available later? Will I be eligible for future programs?
There is currently no funding available to fund this program after this first round of assistance. If funding becomes available and the program runs again, the MRA reserves the right to change the eligibility criteria, amount of assistance, and other aspects of the program.