2. Where can you apply for EA?
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), through its Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS), runs the EA program, but DHCD workers are located in Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offices and take EA applications there. In addition, DHCD has a telephone line that families can call to apply for EA remotely, if they cannot make it to a local office.
The EA application phone number is 866-584-0653. See Appendix A.
You can apply for EA at the local DTA offices listed in Appendix A between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each weekday. Note: the state budget for fiscal year 2019 requires DHCD to maintain office locations in the ten cities and towns that had local offices as of January 1, 2018. At the time of this printing DHCD had not yet re-opened the office in Lowell, as required by the Legislature.
You should go to your local DHCD/DTA office as early in the morning as possible since the application process often takes all day.
DHCD should take your application the same day you go to apply. If someone tries to send you away without taking your application and you need a place to stay right away, ask to speak to a DHCD Supervisor or contact an advocate immediately.
DHCD should ask you which language you prefer to communicate in when you apply. If they do not ask, tell the DHCD worker your preferred language. If you speak Spanish or another common language, you have the right to receive important documents, including the application, in your language. You have the right to get free oral interpretation from DHCD.
DHCD may try to discourage you from applying for EA by suggesting that you stay with friends or relatives. If you have no safe place to go and you appear to meet eligibility rules based on your own statements and other information DHCD has, you have a right to be placed in EA shelter or HomeBASE temporary accommodations right away. See Questions 12 and 13.
If you apply for EA but DHCD says you are not eligible, DHCD should give you a written denial notice that explains why you were denied and that you have a right to appeal. See Question 21.
DHCD is not taking EA applications at every DTA office. This may violate state law. St. 2009, c. 27, § 142. If this causes a problem for you, contact an advocate.