Rental Assistance Programs


Behind on your rent?  Received a notice to quit?

There are two rental assistance options available: the State and the City of Waltham.

State Rental Assistance Program

1) RAFT - Residential Assistance for Families in Transition - For households who are behind on their rent for other reasons.

Rent:  Covers arrears (rent owed)

Total maximum: $10,000 within 12 months.

Utilities: up to $2,500 of overdue utilities - only if you have a shut-off notice.

Apply for RAFT here:

Do you need an update on a RAFT application or are unsure if you can get more help?

If you applied for assistance to Metro Housing Boston yourself and it’s been more than 6 weeks or if you want to know if you’re eligible for additional assistance,  you can contact Metro Housing Boston to get a status update.  Email with your name, address and zip code, application number, date applied, and date of birth, or call 617-544-9330.

If you applied through WATCH and have not yet received an email from Metro Housing Boston with your application number, please contact WATCH by email at or call 781-570-4394  Spanish: email or call 781-570-4423

2) City Programs: CARES COVID Relief

They will pay up to 6 months of back rent.

Eligibility: Renters must show proof of the loss of their income due to reduced work hours/wages after March 1st because of COVID-19. Evidence of Reduced Income – provide one of the following:

  • A second paystub showing reduced hours
  • a lay-off notice from your employer
  • multiple month’s bank statements
  • notices from Unemployment Assistance
  • statement from employer stating reduction in hours

Apply for CARES COVID Relief here

3) WATCH Tenant Assistance Fund

8/16/22 Update - WATCH has raised and distributed over $640,000 in tenant assistance since March 2020.  We currently do not have tenant assistance funds available, but we are accepting donations and will have tenant assistance grants available this fall.  

Thanks to generous donations, state funding, and a Foundation grant to Metrowest and Newton Wellesley Hospital, WATCH is able to help renters who are unable to receive state assistance.

Eligibility: For Waltham tenants who are behind on rent or utilities and have been denied or are not eligible for RAFT or the City Programs or have received the maximum assistance from the state and who are under 80% AMI (see chart above). 

Rent: Initial grant of up to $3,000, possible 2nd grant.
  • Grant is given directly to the tenant to pay rent and is not considered taxable income.
  • Immigration status is not considered in this grant.

Utilities: Tenants who have a utility shut-off notice less than 3 weeks away.


  • Tenants who need to move, cannot afford first, last months’ rent and security, and have been denied from City of Waltham’s funding or are not eligible or cannot be processed in time (less than a week till moving)
  • Tenants who need help with moving costs or picking up donated furniture (up to $500)
  • Tenants who need help with medical transportation (up to $200)
  • Clients who have no money, no food in the house today (1 grocery delivery).
  • Clients who have no money, no food and have medically restricted diets that make it hard to get food needed from food pantries. (Up to 8 grocery deliveries)
  • Tenants who have barriers to going back to work such as transportation, childcare, need for uniform, car repair, or tools. (up to $500)
  • Emergency housing for tenants with children or medically fragile who have emergency housing needs for a week or less and have no other housing options. (up to $1,500)

If you're new to WATCH, live in Waltham, and need help, please fill out this intake form to request rent and utility assistance.

If you're a current WATCH client and would like to request rent or utility assistance, please fill out this form.

City Programs:  Waltham Security Deposit Program

Eligibility: An eligible applicant is one who does not have sufficient deposits of their own for a security deposit, whose income is within the guidelines set by HUD, and one who has documented income for rent payments to a landlord of a home. Undocumented households can apply but must be able to provide proof of income. More info on eligibility here: Program Guidelines
Rent Assistance: Security Deposit, First and or Last Month’s Rent Assistance

Tenants can be "pre-approved” before they find the unit

It requires:

  • 3 months bank statements;
  • 8 weeks paystubs
  • and copy of last year’s tax forms

Need help moving to a new unit?
You can apply for the first & last month’s rent, security deposit, moving expenses, and furniture (depending on funding availability, may use RAFT).

The new landlord must be willing to sign a 1-year lease.

Tenants must have one of the following reasons that they need to move, PLUS must demonstrate that they can afford the rent at the new unit:

- Can not afford the current unit
- Court summons for eviction
- Doubled-up or overcrowded
- Domestic violence
- Fire or flood
- Other health and safety reasons

See more here