Veterans' Laws and Benefits
State-aided public housing
Preference in Tenant Selection; M.G.L. ch. 200, Acts of 1948; M.G.L. ch. 121B, s.1 and s.32; 760 CMR 7.04
Veterans (see Definitions section) applying for state-aided public housing through a local housing authority, who are to be displaced by any low-rent housing project or by a public slum clearance or urban renewal project or who were displaced within three years prior to applying for low-rent housing, when equally in need and eligible for occupancy as other applicants, shall be given preference in tenant selection in the following order:
- Families of disabled veterans whose disability has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be service-connected.
- Families of deceased veterans whose death has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be service-connected.
- Families of all other veterans.
- The word “veteran” shall also include the spouse, surviving spouse, dependent parent or child of a veteran, and the divorced spouse of a veteran who is a legal guardian of a child of a veteran.
Gross income calculation
760 CMR 6.05(3)(C) and M.G.L. ch. 121B, s.32
Any amounts received by the veteran for use in paying tuition, fees, or the cost of books cannot be included in the calculation of the veteran’s gross income for purposes of state-aided public housing. Housing authorities are authorized to exclude disability compensation paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to totally unemployable disabled veterans in excess of $1,800. However, it is dependant on the individual housing authority to allow such exclusion.
M.G.L. ch. 121B, s. 32
State-aided low-rent housing projects cannot deny continued occupancy to veterans, widows or widowers of veterans, or a Gold Star Mother who has lived there for the last eight consecutive years, provided that the unit is two bedrooms or less and the rent is not more than three months in arrears.
Homeless shelters, transitional housing, and supportive housing with services
The Department of Veterans’ Services provides some funding to a range of non-profit organizations, which provide housing services to eligible veterans. Housing services range from emergency homeless shelters, group residences, to single occupancy (SRO) quarters. All require that residents maintain a sober and drug-free environment. Services are available to both male and female veterans.
Homeless shelters (short stay)
Massachusetts Veterans Inc.
69 Grove Street
Worcester, MA 01605
New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans
17 Court Street
Boston, MA 02108
Southeastern Massachusetts Veterans Housing Program, Inc.
20 Willis Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
421 N. Main Street, Buildings 6 and 26
Leeds, MA 01053-0481
413-584-4040, ext. 2288
Transitional (longer stay) and supportive housing with services
Bedford Veterans Quarters (SRO)
200 Springs Road
Bedford, MA 01730
Berkshire Veterans’ Residence
360 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413-584-4040, ext. 2288
Habitat P.L.U.S., Inc. (Services: veterans with head injuries.)
516-520 Essex Street
Lynn, MA 01902
25 Grove Avenue
Leominster, MA 01453
Massachusetts Veterans’ Housing Program
Worcester, MA 01603
Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, Inc.
268 Central Street
Gardner, MA 01440
Nam Vets Association of the Cape and Islands, Inc.
565 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Pine Street Inn
444 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02110
Springfield Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center
P.O. Box 70185
Springfield, MA 01107
Veterans Transition House
20 Willis Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Turner House Center for Veterans, Inc.
825 Simonds Road
Williamstown, MA 01267
Veteran Hospice Homestead (Services: veterans who are terminally ill.)
69 High Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, Inc.
65 Cedar Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
Other programs not supported by DVS funding
Consumer Education Center (MassHousing)
Home Modification Loan Program
(Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission)
Homeless Women Veterans’ Outreach and Case Management Program, VA Boston Healthcare System
150 S. Huntington Avenue (116B-3), Boston, MA 02130
MassHousing’s Home for the Brave loan program
Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership
Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center
Kelton Street, Gardner, MA (slated to open 10/2009)
Massachusetts Soldiers’ Homes provide a variety of services to veterans such as acute hospital care, domiciliary care, long-term care, physical and occupational therapy, laboratory and radiology services, an outpatient department, and a social services department. There are two state Soldiers’ Homes, one in Chelsea, the other in Holyoke. For information on eligibility and admission, contact either:
Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
91 Crest Avenue
Chelsea, MA 02150
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
110 Cherry Street
Holyoke, MA 01041
413-532-9475, ext. 136
RAFT (Residential Assistance to Families in Transition)
RAFT (Residential Assistance to Families in Transition) is a state-funded homelessness prevention program. RAFT gives short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.
RAFT helps families who are behind on rent, mortgage payments, or utility bills. RAFT also helps families who have to move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility start-up costs, or first/last month’s rent. Families can get up to $3,000.
Regional non-profit housing agencies (RNPs) are in charge of the RAFT program at the local level. To apply for RAFT, you should contact the RNP or Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) that serves your city or town. To find your RNP or HCEC, call 800-224-5124.
Tenancy Preservation Program
Through the Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP), MassHousing works to prevent homelessness among people with disabilities. TPP acts as a neutral party between landlord and tenant, and provides clinical consultation services to the Housing Court.
For more information, call 617-854-1089 or www.masshousing.com.
VA Supported Housing Program
The VA Supported Housing (VASH) Program is a joint project of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). VASH provides section 8 vouchers to chronically homeless veterans with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.
The voucher provides a rent subsidy that generally covers rental costs in excess of 30% of the veterans’ income. The goal of the program is to transition veterans from homelessness to independent subsidized housing by providing supportive, community-based case management services.
- A veteran must not be a lifetime sexual offender
- Be homeless or at-risk for homelessness
- Have a substance abuse or mental illness history
- Be clinically stabilized
- Have a need and willingness to accept case management services over a period of time to be determined by the case manager
- Be within income guidelines
- Have a savings
For more information, contact the VASH Program Assistant at a VA Medical Center near you.
Northampton: 413-584-4040, x2135 or x2612