According to a recent news item from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Healey-Driscoll administration provided details of a new nine-month length-of-stay policy for the state’s Emergency Assistance Family Shelter System.

The policy was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Maura Healey at the end of April.

Emergency Assistance is for families with children or pregnant women experiencing homelessness. Last October, Healey announced that the system had reached capacity at 7,500 families. Approximately half of the families in the system are newly arrived immigrants and half are long-time Massachusetts families.

The Healey-Driscoll administration also published guidance yesterday outlining the details of the new policy.

Notices will begin going out on a rolling basis and will not affect all families immediately, so that families may receive adequate support in their transition out of the shelter system, according to the administration. Approximately 150 families will be notified in early July.

Notices will be made available in multiple languages and will tell families the following:
• Their shelter benefit is expiring, and they are required to leave shelter within 90 days
• Whether they are eligible for a first 90-day extension
• How to find out whether they are eligible for a second 90-day extension

Extension criteria include employment, training program participation, veteran status, disability status, school enrollment, imminent risk of harm due to domestic violence, imminent placement in housing and additional criteria outlined in the guidance. Families who have used both extension options and/or do not qualify for extensions may re-apply for Emergency Assistance shelter.

The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities said it is working closely with providers to address questions, establish resources and facilitate effective messaging to families. The office will also provide informational resources in multiple languages to support families as they work toward exiting the EA shelter program and achieving housing stability.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development also issued guidance on authorized training programs for qualified trainees currently residing in EA shelters. The supplemental budget appropriated $10 million for workforce training programs administered by the Office of Labor and Workforce Development, which will be used to strengthen the administration’s current programs and reach even more EA residents.

Additionally, the Department of Revenue issued guidance today on the administration of a tax credit for company-sponsored job training programs. The Temporary Authorized Training Tax Credit for Emergency Assistance is available to various types of businesses and corporations that provide training to an individual residing in an Emergency Assistance family shelter who is enrolled in an authorized training program.

The administration also recently implemented a 30-day engagement requirement at the state’s safety-net sites. These sites are for families on the EA waitlist and currently serve approximately 190 families in Chelsea, Lexington and Cambridge.


Information Pipeline is a free service provided by Capital Strategic Solutions to assist our clients with accessing the latest information about government policy and programs, funding opportunities, research, relevant events and more.

For more information about our services, email us at