Basic Needs Resources
Need Help and Don’t Know Where to Turn? Dial 2-1-1
Every day, someone somewhere in Massachusetts needs to find essential community services. Many face these challenges, but don't always know where to turn for help. The Solution is to Dial 2-1-1.
Mass 211 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community. It serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources. Always a confidential call, Mass 211 maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies.
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Mass 211 is an easy way to find or give help in your community.
Mass 211 responds immediately during times of crisis, to field calls regarding the crisis and to direct callers to services most appropriate for their needs. If you are unable to reach 2-1-1 due to your telephone or cell phone carrier, a toll-free number is available 1-877-211-MASS (6277).
You can also search for help online using Mass 211’s companion webpage, Mass211 HELPSteps.
Affordable Connectivity Program (Internet)
The Affordability Connectivity Program, or ACP, can pay up to $30 every month toward the cost of your Internet service, and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. GetInternet.gov is a simple, easy-to-use website with details on how Americans can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area. To find out more, please visit https://www.fcc.gov/acp
Students residing on campus can access the campus wireless network in the residence halls.
Students at off-campus residences must utilize commercial internet service providers (ISPs) available in their area.
Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
TAFDC provides cash assistance for families with children under the age of 18, including teen parents. If you are pregnant, you can apply for TAFDC for yourself if your child is due in less than 4 months. You may qualify for TAFDC if you meet certain income and asset limits and if someone in the family is a U.S. Citizen or has another qualifying immigration status. You can apply for TAFDC by calling your local Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) office or by applying online.
Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
EAEDC provides cash assistance for people who are :
- unable to work due to a disability that will last at least 60 days;
- over 65 years old and waiting for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments to begin;
- living with and taking care of a child who is not closely related;
- participating in a Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Program; or
- must be home to take care of a disabled person who would otherwise have to move to an institution.
You may qualify for EAEDC if you meet certain income and asset limits and if someone in the family is a U.S. Citizen or has another qualifying immigration status. You can apply for EAEDC by calling your local DTA office or by applying online.
Child Care Financial Assistance
The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provides child care financial assistance for families in need. In order to be eligible for funding, you and your family must meet certain requirements. You may be placed on waiting list if funding is not immediately available. To learn more and apply, click here.
Student Emergency Funds
The Student Emergency Funds page lists all known University options for UMassD undergraduate and graduate students experiencing unexpected financial need. Resources listed here assist UMassD undergraduate students by providing financial support due to unexpected emergency expenses. Students may apply for the funds listed here only when they have exhausted all other possible resources.
Call the Heat Line at 1-800-632-8175 - Locate a Service Provider Listing (Select your city/town from the pull-down list at the top of the page)
Massachusetts Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP or Fuel Assistance)
LIHEAP helps homeowners and renters to pay for their heating costs during the winter heating season. Renters whose heating is included in their rent may be eligible as well. Visit this website to see if you may be eligible. To apply, visit this site to find your local fuel assistance agency. During the COVID-19 emergency, you should be able to apply over the phone.
Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund
The Good Neighbor Energy Fund provides financial assistance to help pay for energy costs for Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for other utility assistance programs. Visit this website for information on eligibility and where to apply.
Jeanne's Cupboard (on-campus food pantry)
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) partners with more than 600 hunger-relief agencies, including food pantries, community meal programs and other food assistance providers throughout the nine counties and 190 towns and cities across Eastern Massachusetts. They also offer assistance with SNAP enrollment. If you, or anyone you know, are in need of food, search their Partner Agency Locator for a list of food assistance options in each community we serve or download their Food Finder Resource Sheet.
Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline Connects you to food resources in your community.
Hotline Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 am-7 pm / Sat, 10 am-2 pm
SNAP Benefits (formerly known as food stamps)
SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, our country’s most powerful nutrition program. Every person who applies for SNAP— and is eligible— will receive it! Once enrolled, you will receive a monthly cash benefit on an EBT card that can be used just like a debit card for food shopping.
To determine whether your household is eligible for SNAP, find the SNAP eligibility chart that applies to your household, or use the 10-second screening tool. SNAP recipients with school-aged children will also receive additional funds. You can apply for SNAP online or by phone through the SNAP Outreach Providers who are authorized to take applications by phone, including the Project Bread Food Source Hotline (800-645-8333) (TTY 800-377-1292) and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts (413-992-6204).
For more information on SNAP for college students, visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students
View the video below regarding eligibility for SNAP Benefits for Massachusetts college students.
Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program (WIC)
WIC provides financial assistance to buy healthy foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 5. Visit this website to see if you are eligible, or call the WIC program at (800)-942-1007. You can also contact your local WIC office. To apply, fill out this online form, and a representative will contact you with information on completing the application process.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP): Massachusetts law requires all full-time and three-fourths-time matriculated students to have comprehensive health insurance. These students will be billed automatically for health insurance. Students must then complete an online waiver form through their COIN account stating whether or not they are requesting the insurance. This must be done yearly. Students enrolled solely in on-line courses are not eligible for the school insurance. The insurance policy runs from August 1 through July 31. To learn more about the Student Health Insurance Plan, click here.
In Massachusetts, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are combined into one program called MassHealth. See if you qualify, apply online, and get help here.
The Health Connector is a state-based health insurance Marketplace that makes shopping for affordable health and dental coverage easier for Massachusetts individuals and families. See if you qualify for savings on your monthly health insurance premium through the Health Connector, apply online, and get help here.
Housing & Rental Assistance
This reference guide, provided by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is for Massachusetts residents seeking information on housing for low and moderate income families and individuals. Most housing in Massachusetts is rented or sold through the private real estate market. However, there are numerous agencies and organizations that provide lower cost, subsidized housing for those who cannot afford market rate rents or home prices.
Emergency Assistance (EA)
The Massachusetts Emergency Assistance program (EA) provides emergency housing for families with pregnant women or children under the age of 21 who are facing homelessness and meet income guidelines. Call the Department of Housing and Community Development at (866) 584-0653 to apply. Applicants who qualify for EA may also qualify for HomeBASE, which provides financial assistance to help families facing homelessness pay for rent, utilities, and moving costs.
Shelters for Individuals
Individuals and families without children under the age of 21 who are facing homelessness may be eligible to stay in an individual shelter. See this page from the Department of Housing and Community Development for a list of individual shelters around the state. The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless also has contact information for some individual shelters.
Rental Assistance Programs
Rental assistance programs provide financial aid to help low-income persons rent privately-owned apartments. The 3 largest rental assistance programs are: The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP). Applications may be made where waiting lists are open. If you are interested in applying for HCVP, MRVP, and AHVP are contact the local housing authority in your community.
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)
The RAFT program is a homelessness prevention program that allows eligible households to receive up to $4,000 per year in flexible funds. The program is targeted to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income. To see if your household meets the income eligibility limits for the RAFT program, Access the FY 2021 Income Limits Documentation System. To determine which regional administrative agency provides RAFT assistance in your area, please CLICK HERE and choose a city/town from the pull-down box at the top of the page. Once you’ve determined which regional agency provides RAFT assistance in your area, contact the regional agency, or click on the appropriate link below to complete a Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) Intake Assessment:
- Berkshire Housing Development Corporation & Housing Services
- Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance
- Community Teamwork, Inc.
- Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority
- Housing Assistance Corporation
- NeighborWorks Housing Solutions (a.k.a. Housing Solutions for Southeastern MA)
- Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development
- Metro Housing | Boston
- RCAP Solution, Inc.
- South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC)
- Way Finders.
After you complete the HCEC Intake Assessment, HCEC staff will review it to determine individual needs and resources.
- CITS has a limited number of laptops available for students. CITS receives requests and review eligibility on an ongoing basis.
- To submit a request for a laptop:
- Submit a case at: https://ithelp.umassd.edu/auth/index.php
- Choose Procurement then Hardware.
- Explain the reason(s) for the need for a laptop including financial situation.
- Include a current telephone number.
- Someone from CITS will be in touch.
In the meantime, students can use computers in any of these locations:
- Library Learning Commons (1st flr)
- Library Scholarly Commons (2nd flr) or
- LARTS Commons (2nd flr)
Students can also borrow a laptop from the MCLP program via the Circulation Desk located on the first floor of the Library. They'll need a valid UMass Pass to do so.
Tax Credit (Earned Income Tax Credit)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit for working people with low or moderate-income. The EITC may reduce your tax bill and give you a refund. Find out if you qualify.
Chapter 115 Benefits for Veterans
Massachusetts provides assistance to veterans and their dependents facing financial difficulties through a program called Chapter 115 Benefits. Eligible veterans and their dependents or survivors may qualify for monthly cash assistance, reimbursement for medical expenses, and other financial assistance to help pay mortgage, rent or utility bills. The Department of Veterans’ Services provides these benefits in partnership with Veterans’ Service Officers located in cities and towns across the state. Visit the Mass Vet Benefit Calculator to see if you might be eligible. Then call your local Veterans’ Service Officer to apply for Chapter 115 Benefits and discuss other veterans’ benefits that you might be eligible for. You can help you figure out how to contact your local Veterans’ Service Officer here. If you cannot reach your Veterans’ Service Officer, call the Department of Veterans’ Services directly at (617) 210-5480.