16. What are Rehousing and Stabilization Plans?
A Rehousing Plan (formerly called a Self-Sufficiency Plan) is a plan that the adults in your family must follow while you are in EA shelter. The plan is made by the DHCD worker, the shelter provider and the adults in the family. A child age 18 to 21 may be part of the plan. Failure to cooperate in creating or following the plan can lead to a finding of noncompliance, and three findings of noncompliance can lead to termination of shelter benefits. See Question 17.
A Rehousing Plan may require your family, among other things, to:
- search for safe, permanent housing;
- attend all scheduled meetings with a housing search worker;
- set goals to keep permanent housing;
- provide proof of applications for public, subsidized and private housing and provide documentation needed to get public or subsidized housing;
- save 30% of your household's net income (after taxes and other withholdings). This requirement should not be applied to families in hotels and motels. It should also be lifted or reduced if a change would lead to more rapid rehousing, if the income is necessary to access transportation and medical appointments, if it is not reasonable for an individual family, or if the family needs the money to reduce debts, such as past rent or utilities, in order to be able to get permanent housing; and
- take part in work, education, training, community service or substance abuse activities for 30 hours per week. This requirement must be reduced or lifted to accommodate a disability, lack of transportation or child care, to address medical, mental health and/or domestic violence issues, lack of a site identified by the department to do the activity, or the need to care for a child under the age of 3 months old. 760 CMR 67.06(4)(b).
A Stabilization Plan is a plan that the adults in your household must follow while you are in HomeBASE-supported housing. The plan is created by your HomeBASE provider with input from the family. Refusal to cooperate in developing a Stabilization Plan and failure to comply with a Stabilization Plan can lead to termination of your HomeBASE assistance and bar your family from receiving additional assistance for 12 months.
A Stabilization Plan may require you, among other things, to:
- do the same things as in a Rehousing Plan discussed above, except you will not have to save 30% of your income;
- pay your share of rent and utilities and comply with your lease;
- repay arrearages and damages owed to any housing authority or HomeBASE provider;
- report any changes in income or household members within 10 days;
- not engage in criminal conduct or let your guests do so;
- not possess a firearm in or around HomeBASE housing;
- not abandon HomeBASE housing or let unauthorized persons stay with you;
- not reject an offer of safe, permanent housing without good cause;
- not miss more than 2 scheduled meetings or phone calls with your stabilization worker;
- not leave any child under the age of 12 unattended in the HomeBASE unit;
- comply with all service plans from other agencies; and
- take steps to address “financial responsibility; job training, work search and employment; educational attainment; and well-being of children in the family.” 760 CMR 65.03(6) and 65.05.
- If you are asked to sign a Rehousing Plan or a Stabilization Plan that you do not understand or is not reasonable for you or your family, ask DHCD or the shelter or your HomeBASE provider to explain it or change it. If you cannot fully understand the Plan in English, tell DHCD or the shelter or your HomeBASE provider that you need an interpreter. If you still have questions or concerns, consult an advocate.
- If you have signed a Plan that you no longer think is workable or reasonable, ask your worker for a reassessment of your plan and make a record of that request. If your worker refuses to change the Plan, consult an advocate.
- If you receive a notice saying you failed to comply with your Rehousing Plan and you disagree or think you had good reasons for not fulfilling the Plan, file an appeal and contact an advocate for help. See Question 21. It is important to appeal a finding that you did not follow your Rehousing Plan because three such findings can cause you to be terminated from shelter, see Question 17.