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Founded by the Cambridge Community of Realtors in 1999 as a response to the city’s growing numbers of homeless and the desire to maintain diversity in Cambridge, CHAF has grown from a fledgling group of concerned citizens into a citywide coalition including the Cambridge banking community, Harvard University, city officials, individuals and other businesses committed to opening doors for the homeless.

By supplementing rental startup costs, the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund has assisted more than 1,600 households transition into a stable home from life in a shelter, on the street or on the verge of homeless.

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the fund for?

The Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund was established to provide financial assistance to homeless and near homeless clients of two Cambridge organizations – HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless. CHAF funds pay for expenses related to rental housing startup costs such as first and last month’s rent, security deposit and rental fees. The Fund is intended to help individuals and families overcome the financial obstacles facing lower income households in obtaining affordable housing.

Who is involved?

Founded by the Cambridge Council of Realtors, CHAF is a public/private partnership with HomeStart, the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless.

What do HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless do?

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center provide housing search and support services to homeless and near-homeless families and individuals. Support services offered include information and referral to affordable housing programs; housing search support groups; access to telephone, voice mail and transportation resources; assistance negotiating with property owners and managers and case management services supporting access to healthcare, community service agencies, education and employment programs and home-based services.

In addition, staff provide stabilization services following a family’s move to their new home. These stabilization services increase the long term stability of the tenant and the likelihood that they will fulfill all the terms of their lease.

What is needed for the fund?

Saving the funds necessary to obtain an apartment can often seem and, in fact, be insurmountable for low-income families. If someone does find a suitable apartment, the required first and last month’s rent and security deposit can total well over $4,000.

The Cambridge Multi-Service Center reports that 10-15 families a month (or more) are in danger of losing access to an affordable apartment due to their inability to save enough for the required start up costs. Many families who are in possession of a rental subsidy to pay for their rent, lose the subsidy because they are unable to secure an apartment. This dilemma affects individuals as well and will only continue given economic trends and recent public funding cuts.

How does the fund work?

An approval committee, comprised of staff from HomeStart, Inc. and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center, disperses grants based on need and expected housing retention. The approval committee grants monies based on criteria agreed upon by the Cambridge Community of Realtors.

What about administrative costs?

HomeStart covers the costs of administering the fund. Donations to the fund are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Distributing the Funds
The Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund works diligently to ensure that every donation reaches the individuals and families most in need in our community. That’s why CHAF partners with two local organizations deeply involved in the Cambridge community to distribute funds raised by CHAF.

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless are key CHAF allies in the fight to end homelessness.

Because these organizations work so closely with the homeless and near homeless, they are the organizations best equipped to identify the individuals and families who are struggling to maintain a roof over their heads.

An approval committee, comprised of staff from HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center, disperses grants based on need and expected housing retention. The approval committee grants monies based on criteria agreed upon by the Cambridge Community of Realtors.

The organizations then distribute funds to individuals and families in need – forever altering the course of their lives. This is how your donation makes a difference in our community.

Housing Services

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center also provide housing search and support services. Support services offered include information and referral to affordable housing programs; housing search support groups; access to telephone, voice mail and transportation resources; assistance negotiating with property owners and managers and case management services supporting access to healthcare, community service agencies, education and employment programs and home-based services.

Additionally, staff provide stabilization services following a family’s move to their new home. These stabilization services increase the long term stability of the tenant and the likelihood that they will fulfill all the terms of their lease.

What One Gift Can Do
How Your Gift Helps
Average Amount to Help One Family: $800

Estimated amount paid by state to shelter a homeless family for one year: $30,000

Percentage of CHAF/HomeStart clients still housed one year later: 96%

Approximate Number of Households Helped Since 1999: 1,600

Total Raised in 2012: $157,415

Total Raised since 1999: Over $1,800,000

CHAF’s 2013 Fundraising Goal: $150,000

Affordable Housing in Massachusetts: Did You Know?
Affordable Housing in Massachusetts: Did You Know?

In Massachusetts, a worker earning the minimum wage ($8.00 per hour) must work 114 hours per week in order to afford a two-bedroom unit.

A full-time worker in the Cambridge/Boston area must earn $26.33 per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom unit.

In Massachusetts, an extremely low income household earning $26,709 or 30% of the median income, can afford monthly rent of no more than $668, while the Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom unit is $1,187.

(Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Out of Reach 2012, http://nlihc.org/oor/2012/MA)

Success Stories
Click here to view some real life CHAF success stories.

How CHAF Works

How CHAF Works

kendrickbillycostaFounded by the Cambridge Community of Realtors in 1999 as a response to the city’s growing numbers of homeless and the desire to maintain diversity in Cambridge, CHAF has grown from a fledgling group of concerned citizens into a citywide coalition including the Cambridge banking community, Cambridge universities, businesses, city officials, and concerned individuals committed to opening doors for the homeless.

By supplementing rental startup costs, the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund has assisted more than 1,800 households transition into a stable home from life in a shelter, on the street or on the verge of homeless.

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the fund for?

The Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund was established to provide financial assistance to homeless and near homeless clients of two Cambridge organizations – HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless. The Fund is intended to help individuals and families overcome the financial obstacles facing lower income households in obtaining affordable housing.

Who is involved?

Founded by the Cambridge Council of Realtors, CHAF is a public/private partnership with HomeStart, the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless.

What do HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless do?

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center provide housing search and support services to homeless and near-homeless families and individuals. Support services offered include information and referral to affordable housing programs; housing search support groups; access to telephone, voice mail and transportation resources; assistance negotiating with property owners and managers and case management services supporting access to healthcare, community service agencies, education and employment programs and home-based services.

In addition, staff provide stabilization services following a family’s move to their new home. These stabilization services increase the long term stability of the tenant and the likelihood that they will fulfill all the terms of their lease.

What is needed for the fund?

Saving the funds necessary to obtain an apartment can often seem and, in fact, be insurmountable for low-income families. If someone does find a suitable apartment, the required first and last month’s rent and security deposit can total well over $4,000.

The Cambridge Multi-Service Center reports that 10-15 families a month (or more) are in danger of losing access to an affordable apartment due to their inability to save enough for the required start up costs. Many families who are in possession of a rental subsidy to pay for their rent, lose the subsidy because they are unable to secure an apartment. This dilemma affects individuals as well and will only continue given economic trends and recent public funding cuts.

How does the fund work?

An approval committee, comprised of HomeStart’s leadership team and ambassadors from the Cambridge community, disperses grants based on need and expected housing retention.

What about administrative costs?

HomeStart covers the costs of administering the fund. Donations to the fund are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Distributing the Funds
The Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund works diligently to ensure that every donation reaches the individuals and families most in need in our community. That’s why CHAF partners with two local organizations deeply involved in the Cambridge community to distribute funds raised by CHAF.

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless are key CHAF allies in the fight to end homelessness.

Because these organizations work so closely with the homeless and near homeless, they are the organizations best equipped to identify the individuals and families who are struggling to maintain a roof over their heads.

An approval committee, comprised of staff from HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center, disperses grants based on need and expected housing retention. The approval committee grants monies based on criteria agreed upon by the Cambridge Community of Realtors.

The organizations then distribute funds to individuals and families in need – forever altering the course of their lives. This is how your donation makes a difference in our community.

Housing Services

HomeStart and the Cambridge Multi-Service Center also provide housing search and support services. Support services offered include information and referral to affordable housing programs; housing search support groups; access to telephone, voice mail and transportation resources; assistance negotiating with property owners and managers and case management services supporting access to healthcare, community service agencies, education and employment programs and home-based services.

Additionally, staff provide stabilization services following a family’s move to their new home. These stabilization services increase the long term stability of the tenant and the likelihood that they will fulfill all the terms of their lease.

What One Gift Can Do
How Your Gift Helps
Average Amount to Help One Household: $936

Estimated amount paid by state to shelter a homeless family for one year: $30,000

Percentage of CHAF/HomeStart clients still housed one year later: 96%

Approximate Number of Households Helped Since 1999: 1,600

Total Raised in 2014: $175,000

Total Raised since 1999: Over $2,000,000

CHAF’s 2015 Fundraising Goal: $150,000

Affordable Housing in Massachusetts: Did You Know?
Affordable Housing in Massachusetts: Did You Know?

In Massachusetts, a worker earning the minimum wage ($9.00 per hour) must work 114 hours per week in order to afford a two-bedroom unit.

A full-time worker in the Cambridge/Boston area must earn $26.33 per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom unit.

In Massachusetts, an extremely low income household earning $26,709 or 30% of the median income, can afford monthly rent of no more than $668, while the Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom unit is $1,187.

(Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Out of Reach 2012, http://nlihc.org/oor/2012/MA)

Success Stories
Click here to view some real life CHAF success stories.

What One Gift Can Do

What One Gift Can Do

You have the power to make a real difference in the lives of so many families and individuals with a contribution to CHAF. As former State Representative Alice Wolf put it, “From a statewide perspective, there’s probably no more important activity that you can be doing than assisting people to remain in housing and to not fall into the specter of homelessness, both as a human endeavor but also as a way of really preventing this continual cycle that has gone on.” Below is a quick look at how one small gift can make a big difference.

How Your Gift Helps
Average Amount to Help One Family: $730

Estimated amount paid by state to shelter a homeless family for one year: $30,000

Percentage of CHAF/HomeStart clients still housed one year later: 96%

Approximate Number of households helped since 1999: 1,700

Number of households helped in 2013: 124

Total Raised in 2013: $160,213

Total Raised since 1999: Over $1,900,000

CHAF’s 2014 Fundraising Goal: $150,000

Donate

Donate

Donations to the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Your gift can provide local Cambridge families and individuals with the building blocks necessary to get back on their feet. Your contribution is deductible for US federal income tax purposes to the full extent provided by law. Federal Tax ID Number 04-3311270.

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Other Ways to Give:

Set up a Recurring Donation

Payment Options



Mail a Donation

To mail in a donation, please send a check payable to CHAF to the following address:

CHAF
552 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 208A
Cambridge, MA 02139

In-Kind Donations
For more information about making a donation or to learn other ways in which to help the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund in its mission, please contact Board Chair David Pap at 617-844-2756 (desk) or 617-594-1088 or Sally Bunch at 617-542-0338, ext.265 or send an email CHAF.
Furniture Donations
Donate your used furniture through the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’Furniture Bank. Click here to visit their website now.