Access to safe, stable, and affordable housing is a human right, but in Chelsea this right is denied to too many people. Even before the pandemic, Chelsea struggled with a rapidly gentrifying housing market, overcrowded housing, displacement of low-income families, tenant rights’ violations, and widespread housing insecurity that breeds anxiety, depression, and poor health outcomes throughout our community.
As one of the state’s most densely populated cities, where rents are high and incomes are low, overcrowded housing contributed to Chelsea’s emergence as the epicenter of the pandemic in 2020. Two-thirds of Latinx immigrant families experienced either job loss or a significant reduction in their work hours, and quickly found themselves unable to pay their rent.
La Colaborativa works closely with residents to address housing instability through advocacy and direct services for members facing eviction, homelessness, or violations of their rights as tenants. Because there is no single intervention that will address the housing crisis and prevent further displacement of our families, we implement a multi-pronged approach that addresses immediate housing needs of families, develops grassroots leadership, and drives systemic policy change to fortify tenant protections and build more sustainable housing markets for working families.
Rental Assistance (RAFT)
La Colaborativa staff and volunteers assist residents to apply for rental relief programs through the city, state, and other private funding sources. Many of these programs, including the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program are available to undocumented families and offer significant resources to repay back rent and keep families housed. Application assistance is available by appointment only, in person or over the phone. Please contact us to set up an appointment.
UpToCode Digital Toolkit
La Colaborativa has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to launch the Made UpToCode digital toolkit to help tenants self-inspect their homes and report unsanitary conditions to housing inspectors and landlords. Use the website to self-inspect your home.
Housing advocates can help tenants and landlords come together to resolve housing disputes, negotiate payment plans, and open lines of communication with the goal of keeping families housed. If you are facing eviction or a conflict with your landlord, contact us to set up an appointment with a housing advocate.
Free Legal Aid
In partnership with the City of Chelsea, La Colaborativa hosts weekly legal aid clinics, where residents can meet 1:1 with a housing attorney to review their unique housing case and determine a path forward that will keep the family housed. This program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts and designed to expand tenants’ ability to access qualified legal counsel in housing cases. If you are facing eviction or need to speak with a lawyer about your housing situation, please contact us to set up an appointment.
Emergency Housing Placement
La Colaborativa is committed to ensuring that no member of our community is sleeping on the streets. Without an emergency shelter in Chelsea, La Colaborativa closes the gap in services by offering families in crisis temporary emergency housing in local hotels. We also have limited cash assistance funds available for families to help pay emergency housing costs.
La Colaborativa hosts weekly Know Your Rights trainings for tenants to develop grassroots leaders who understand housing laws and tenant protections and are empowered to join the movement for housing justice. Trainings not only help residents develop solutions to their personal housing crises, but also to advocate for their neighbors, and join our statewide campaigns for policies that will achieve housing equity over the long-term.
La Colaborativa partners with local and statewide coalitions to advocate for policy changes that will increase housing security and justice for our community. Key advocacy campaigns that are ongoing focus on:
The Right to Counsel (RTC)
La Colaborativa is the lead grassroots organization in the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition, working to expand access to free legal counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction. More than 90% of tenants in Massachusetts facing eviction are unrepresented, while more than 80% of landlords go to housing court with an attorney. RTC legislation would level the playing field and help more families avoid the trauma and long-term housing consequences of eviction.
Local Rent Control in Chelsea and Surrounding Areas
Expanding Local Emergency Housing Options
La Colaborativa is advocating for the City of Chelsea to open an emergency shelter for low-income families facing homelessness and in need of temporary housing while they get back on their feet.
When we launched the 2022 Whatever it Takes campaign, we set a dream goal of $1 million. To be honest, none of us at La Colaborativa knew for sure how we'd get there. What we did know is that our friends and supporters have continually stepped up to serve, protect,...
Our community is facing an unprecedented housing crisis, as families navigate a third year of the pandemic, a skyrocketing cost of living, and a dense, competitive local housing market. Intakes for emergency housing are up, with our triage team seeing 10+ new cases...
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