Community Health and Wellness
Boston housing is expensive, difficult to find and the wait list for housing assistance seems to take forever. There are agencies available in Boston and the surrounding areas to help you access housing, answer your questions about housing options, help you understand your rights as a tenant, etc. Below is a list** of places to start with your housing concerns. All housing agencies listed below have Spanish options for callers.
**This list is not a complete and comprehensive list of all housing advocacy agencies in the greater Boston area, but will serve as a place to start with your housing questions and concerns.
1-617-371-1234 or 1-800-323-3205
Offers information and representation in the following areas:
1-617-603-1700 or 1-800-342-LAWS
Offers legal help for:
1-781-891-6689 ext. 203
1-800-272-0990 or 617-859-0400
To access Boston family shelter system, call the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCH) at 1-877-418-3308 to determine eligibility.
To access Boston domestic violence shelter resources, contact Safelink at 1-877-785-2020 to determine eligibility.
To find a night-to-night shelter available to the public, call the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless at 1-781-595-7570.
For more and more families in the Boston area, the cost of daily living is becoming difficult. Feeding the family at the end of the month or after a period without work can be hard, and having an empty cupboard is scary.
Click on a location below for a printable (PDF) list of food resources available in that area:
Below is a list of places you can go and agencies you can call to get help feeding the family and making the budget stretch. While it isn’t a complete list of all the agencies in the Boston area, it should offer you a place to start.
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital has established a partnership with the Fresh Truck, a non-profit mobile fruit and vegetable market committed to increasing access to affordable, healthy food. You will find the truck at the Thomas M. Menino YMCA (1137 River St, Hyde Park, MA 02136) each week, often with a registered dietitian from BWFH providing free samples of healthy recipes, tips on how to prepare and cook produce, and general nutrition advice.
To apply for food stamps or “SNAP” assistance, visit your local Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) office to complete an application. To find your local office, call 866-645-8333 or go to www.mass.gov/dta. To complete your application you will need an ID with name and address (if you have no address you will need to tell them where you are staying), proof of income, social security numbers for all household members who are applying for SNAP, proof of legal noncitizen status and proof of expenses (this is not required but showing your bills such as rent, utilities, medical bills, etc. can increase the amount you get in SNAP benefits).
1-800-942-1007 or 617-624-6100
WIC is a nutrition program for women, infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk. To qualify you must be under 185 percent of the federal poverty level (42,643.00 for a family of four). You may also qualify if you currently receive SNAP benefits, Masshealth or TANF help. To apply for WIC you will need proof of income, proof you live in Massachusetts and proof of identity. Your “nutritional risk” must be evaluated by a doctor, nurse or nutritionist.
Food Source Hotline: 1-800-645-8333
Project Bread is a statewide information and referral source for people facing hunger. They will refer you to emergency food sources in your area as well as provide information on school meals, summer food sites for children, elder meal programs, SNAP, etc. They will also screen for SNAP eligibility and help with applications for SNAP. They offer help in 160 different languages.
The Greater Boston Food Bank services 190 towns from Lowell to the Cape and will provide information on local food pantries, kids’ cafes and the Brown Bag Program.
The Food Bank of Western MA will provide information on food resources, pantries, etc. for the Western half of the state.
617-288-6185 or go to www.fairfoods.org for sites, dates and times.
The Two Dollars a Bag Program is a community agency based in Dorchester that hands out fresh fruits and vegetables in Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Anyone in need is welcome and an ID or referral is NOT required. There are no income limits and you don’t have to sign up ahead of time. You also won’t be turned down if you can’t pay the $2.00 a bag.
The Brown Bag Food Program gives free bags of food each month to low income seniors who are currently under 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (21,257.00 for a family of one) or receiving SNAP, Masshealth, Fuel Assistance, SSI or Veterans Services. In most cases you must be over age 60. The bags are free or a small donation may be requested (under $3.00 a bag). To find a program in your area and apply, contact your local food bank (see Food Bank phone numbers above) or senior center.
Meals on Wheels is a meal delivery program for seniors. To determine if you are eligible and sign up, contact your local elder services agency or senior center.
This food pantry program is available to the students at the following schools:
Offering comprehensive medical, surgical and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services to residents of southwest Boston and the surrounding suburbs.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BWFH