Avoiding Homelessness:
Start with HAPHousing's HCEC

Contact a Counselor Who Can Help


If you are at risk of losing your housing and becoming homeless, HAPHousing’s Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) can provide a variety of information and assistance. In order for us to properly help you, download an Assessment Form and instructions.  If you are a Spanish speaker, click here to download the Assessment Form and instructions en Espanol. Please make sure you answer accurately and fully all questions that apply to you. 

After HCEC staff review your assessment, we will provide you with any appropriate information, referrals, and assistance. Within 15 days of our receipt of the Assessment Form, we will contact you if we may be able to provide you with short-term financial assistance. Unfortunately, because of the large number of people we serve and the limited number of staff, we can only contact people we may be able to assist further. If you have not been contacted within 15 days, assume that we cannot provide you with financial assistance.

Sometimes, HCEC can provide limited, short-term financial assistance for very low-income families and individuals who are homeless or very close to being homelessness. Eligibility depends on your income, situation, where you live and other factors.  Requirements vary by program funding sources; funds are not always available, including those for the program known as RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition). 

If you would like to meet with one of our counselors, walk-in hours are Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon at our office located at 322 Main Street, Springfield, MA.

Click here for an interactive map with locations and contact information for organizations offering help for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness throughout Massachusetts.

Accessing Emergency Shelter and the HomeBASE Program

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts's HomeBASE program offers an alternative to emergency shelter for eligible families at risk of homelessness.  It includes time-limited assistance designed to provide a housing solution -- rather than going into a shelter or motel -- to families who are at serious risk of homelessness.  The type of assistance is based on the individual needs of a family, which is determined through an assessment of the family's needs, situation and contribution.  There is no guaranteed amount or type of assistance.

If your family is in an immediate housing crisis and homeless, you must first apply for Emergency Assistance (EA) at one of the offices of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).  In Western Massachusetts, the DTA offices are located at:

  • 95 Liberty Street, Springfield, MA
  • 72-100 Front Street, Holyoke, MA
  • 1 Arch Place, Suite 2A, Greenfield, MA

Here are some important things you should know:

  • To receive HomeBASE assistance, you must first be determined to be EA eligible by a DHCD Homeless Coordinator at a DTA office.  Eligible families must meet income and other crtieria that includes providing documentation on the reasons for homelessness.
  • If you are determined to be EA eligible, you may qualify for the following:
    • You will be placed in an EA shelter if you are a victim of domestic violence or a natural disaster (e.g. fire, etc.)
    • You will be placed in an EA congregate shelter or a Teen Living Program if you are between the ages of 18 - 21
    • You will be eligible for the new HomeBASE alternative to family shelter if your reason for homelessness relates to health or safety, overcrowding, asked to leave, or evicted from housing, among other reasons

HAPHousing is the primary HomeBASE provider in Hampden and Hampshire Counties, but you must be referred to us by the DHCD Homeless Coordinator through the DTA office.


Foreclosure Prevention

HAPHousing serves as the administrative agency for a state-funded initiative called the Western Massachusetts Foreclosure Prevention Center. This local not-for-profit program consists of more than a dozen partner agencies throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire and Franklin counties.

Trained foreclosure prevention counselors provide free and confidential guidance to help address the needs of current homeowners facing possible mortgage default and foreclosure. The Center is also available to provide education for the next generation of homebuyers about the home buying process to ensure that they succeed over the long term. 

If you are a homeowner at risk of losing your home through foreclosure, you can contact the Center during business hours at 413-233-1622.

If you are a tenant whose building is being foreclosed, click here to download an information sheet. Si el edificio donde usted vive tiene una ejecucion hipotecaria informacion para el inquilino.

Domestic Violence

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need a safe place to go, call 911 for the police department emergency line, 1-800-796-8711 for the YWCA Abuse & Rape Crisis hotline in Springfield, or Safe Link toll free at 1-877-785-2020.

Other helpful numbers in the region:

  • Springfield Police Department Family Services and Domestic Violence: 413-787-6360
  • Women's Shelter/Compañeras, Holyoke: 413-536-1628
  • Necessities/Necesidades, Northampton: 413-586-5066
  • NELCWIT in Greenfield: 413-772-0806
  • Women's Services Center, Pittsfield: 413-443-0089
  • Dept. of Social Services/Child Abuse: 800-792-5200
  • S.A.F.E. (State-wide domestic violence hotline): 877-785-2020 (TDY: 877-521-2601)
  • Dr. Richard Zalowski: Director of Domestic Violence Programs: 413-734-4978


Transitional Living

HAPHousing's SafeStep program provides transitional living and supportive services to survivors of domestic violence in various locations. Families are referred by a variety of partner agencies, including domestic violence shelters, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

Pregnant and Parenting Teens

HAPHousing's Turning Point Program has nine units of transitional housing for pregnant and parenting teens (generally 18 to 22). Participants are accepted through partner agencies, including the Care Center, DTA and DCF.

Participants generally live in transitional housing for 18 to 24 months.  During that time, they receive comprehensive case management, life skills training and supportive services, including assistance in searching for appropriate permanent housing.

For intake information or to make a referral to one of these transitional housing programs, contact Janette Vigo at jvigo@haphousing.org or 413-233-1635.