Housing Assistance Programs

Helping renters and homeowners stay safe and secure in their homes

Housing Stabilization through Mediation & Financial Assistance

Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to live. We help eligible households in Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding communities to avoid eviction and stabilize their housing through a supportive combination of mediation and emergency financial assistance.

Mediation

Just A Start’s mediators can help resolve disputes between tenants, landlords, homeowners, and others by creating a safe, neutral space for communication. Mediation allows parties to understand each other’s perspectives, explore options, and come up with a mutual resolution that helps everyone move forward.

Our mediators help resolve conflicts in courts around the Metro North area, helping all parties to avoid the emotional and financial stress of a legal battle. We’ve helped thousands of individuals manage conflicts before they spiral out of control and reach settlements while creating housing solutions for tenants and landlords, often preventing unnecessary eviction.

Are you wondering if mediation may help your housing situation? Please contact Elizabeth Winston, Housing and Mediation Services Director, at ElizabethWinston@justastart.org or 617-918-7518 for more information. 

Financial Assistance

Just A Start can help tenants at risk of eviction through emergency financial assistance. Depending on your income and your city/town of residence, you may be eligible for assistance to put towards rent, utilities, or other urgent bills.

Are you at risk of eviction and in need of financial assistance? Please contact Elizabeth Winston, Housing and Mediation Services Director, at ElizabethWinston@justastart.org or 617-918-7518 for more information.

Safe and Secure at Home

A journalist and professor, Bill Marcus follows opportunities where they lead him, constantly adapting. After many years spent reporting internationally in Shanghai, his career took him to Boston where he settled in Somerville. Bill came to enjoy Somerville and met many interesting people as roommates, but the instability of the housing market took a toll, as apartment turnover and rising rents forced him to move several times within a few years.

When Bill first connected with Just A Start, he was in a bittersweet situation—he had been accepted off the lottery for an inclusionary unit in Somerville, but faced the stress of another move and the expense of starting over in a new apartment. “I had mixed feelings,” Bill said. “I thought, ‘how am I going to get out of this lease?’”

Just A Start was able to help bridge the gap— thanks to a contract with Somerville’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, we covered Bill’s security deposit and first month’s rent on his new affordable apartment. “I wish I’d known Just A Start existed earlier!” Bill reflected, while settling into the stability that a permanently affordable apartment offers. With fewer worries about rent rising or relocating, Bill could focus on caring for his health, pursuing career opportunities, and meeting new people in Somerville.

Home Improvement Program

Are you a current Cambridge homeowner living in a 1-4 unit building and looking for technical expertise and low interest financing for a home repair or renovation?

Just A Start’s Home Improvement Program has helped hundreds of income-eligible Cambridge homeowners improve their home’s efficiency, functionality and aesthetics over the past 45 years. Our team will help you scope your project, identify code issues at the property, and secure competitive contractor bids for the work. Once a contractor is selected, we provide technical oversight throughout the lending and construction process.

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Years assisting Cambridge homeowners since 1975
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Over 1,000 low-interest rehab loans for Cambridge homeowners
$ 0 M+
In loan funding for home improvement and repair projects

How the program works:

In partnership with the City of Cambridge Community Development Department, we offer low interest (and no interest) loans to help fund the work. When possible, we seek grant assistance and partner with other non-profit lenders and city departments to maximize project savings for you.

A program priority is to identify and correct any code issues and ensure that your home is safe and comfortable to live in, both now and in the future.

Home improvement work can include projects like:

Please contact Ethan Solomon, Home Improvement Program Manager, at 617-918-7514 or EthanSolomon@justastart.org to learn more.

“I have always considered myself very lucky to have the help, guidance, and expertise from the staff at Just A Start. The Just A Start crew should be very proud of how nice my home turned out and I am grateful for the tremendous savings this program has passed on to me.”
– Mary P., HIP Client
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