CHA Central Office Closed Until Further Notice and COVID-Related Updates

*If you are a CHA resident or voucher participant and have had a change in income or expenses, you may contact your Leasing Officer or Property Manager directly to request an Interim Recertification, or click here to make the request and someone will follow up with you.*

CHA Residents Receive COVID Vaccines

A tremendous thank you to the Cambridge Public Health Department and the Cambridge Fire Department for their partnership in administering—as of March 2021—over 1,500 vaccines for CHA residents and staff at sites housing our most vulnerable populations. In addition to this initiative, residents who did not participate in this effort had already either received a vaccine or made prior arrangements through their medical provider.

Free COVID Testing Still Available

Per the City of Cambridge: COVID-19 testing is available 7 days a week to any Cambridge resident who wishes to get tested. Testing is offered at no cost to residents of all ages, including babies. You do not need to have symptoms or meet any other criteria to get tested. Click here to view testing sites.

Services Update

Infection rates in Massachusetts and across the country continue to rise, and despite disagreement within the political climate, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) knows that the pandemic has not ceased. While some may contract COVID-19 and appear asymptomatic, almost a quarter of a million United States residents have been claimed by this deadly virus. At this time, as the Massachusetts death rate has surpassed 12,000, many individuals in our agency and community may personally know families who have lost a loved one, and that, is very real and more reason to not scale back on the dangers presented by COVID-19. For this reason, the CHA is not letting its guard down and has chosen to maintain current staffing and closures until further notice. This measure, by any means, does not signal a dip in service to our residents. The CHA frontline staff know that the services provided by the agency are “essential” and will continue to remain available and have a presence in our buildings, while staff across the entire agency remain available by phone and e-mail. We are proud of the continued commitment shown by CHA employees to continue helping to protect our residents, especially our senior living communities, from the further spread of COVID-19. The following items detail the current state of our operations, including how we will continue to serve the CHA community and members of the public:
  • CHA offices will remain closed until further notice with an aim to reassess the ability to phase visitors and clients back in during 2021.
  • All administrative functions will continue operating with employees working remotely. Staff members are available and will respond to e-mail communications and voicemails left on direct lines. To reach someone directly, please visit the ‘Staff Directory’ page on our website.
  • CHA’s main phone line (617-864-3020) will continue directing to an answering service until further notice. An assigned CHA staff member sorts through these messages and distributes them accordingly to appropriate personnel or departments.
  • All offices, including the Central Office at 362 Green Street in Central Square, have secure drop boxes that are accessible to residents, voucher participants and applicants during normal business hours to drop off important documents intended for review or submission.
  • All current construction projects at our sites have resumed with new safety precautions in place.
  • Work Order Requests: CHA residents can call their property management office during the normal business hours of 8AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Friday, for assistance. For requests during non-business hours, residents can call the CHA main phone line for the answering service to intake and dispatch the inquiry. Maintenance staff at sites are now at full capacity and are no longer working under the skeleton crew structure.
Our agency is understanding of the burden office closures can cause to our clients and tenants. The CHA has every intention to continue providing optimal support while monitoring reopening guidelines and safety precautions released by the CDC and public health officials on all levels. Prevention only works if done together, it is especially important for everyone to follow CDC guidance regarding social distancing, handwashing, regular testing, and wearing a mark while in public or in common areas. 

Statement on Expiration of Statewide Moratorium and Creation of New Pilot Program to Help Keep Residents Housed

While the statewide moratorium on evictions has ended, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) maintains its focus to keep residents and participants housed. This is crucial to who we are as an agency. Out of more than 3,000 households currently being served by the CHA, 116 of them have been identified to have fallen behind on rent payments during the pandemic. These families will be targeted through our newly-developed Tenancy Preservation and Eviction Prevention Pilot Program for CHA residents and voucher holders. The pilot program will feature a social worker to help conduct an initial needs assessment, setting personalized goals, and pursuing necessary resources to address their rent arrearage. The social worker will also help to address any underlying causes of non-payment. In addition, we are actively reaching out to CHA residents and program participants to remind them of our streamlined recertification process and to provide them with resources for addressing rent arrearages. The Tenancy Preservation and Eviction Prevention Pilot Program will also provide additional support for assistance with the recertification process, hoarding cases, and limited behavioral issues. While the CHA strives to work with families and establish trust, we still need to maintain and manage properties effectively, and do expect for our residents to comply with requirements of their leases. Therefore, notices of potential lease violations will resume (in compliance with the CARES Act, the CDC Moratorium, and the City of Cambridge Emergency Ordinance), but our ultimate goal is to significantly lower the amount of cases entered in court. Quite simply, our agency cannot sit idly by and watch our residents accrue large rental arrearages that are difficult to overcome, especially during a pandemic. We are much more committed to a solution-based approach and are hopeful about these new layers of support for the people we serve and care about.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) Memo Updates

And for quick reference, Section 8 voucher holders are welcome to check the CHA’s regularly updated Apartment Listing by clicking here.

Are You a Landlord Looking to Fill a Unit Vacancy? CHA Can Help

If you would like your rental unit(s) to be added to our weekly Apartment Listings to market to CHA Section 8 voucher holders who are searching, please click here. Renting your unit to a Section 8 participant means that you – the landlord – will still receive full rental payment even if the tenant’s income changes. CHA currently works with over 1,000 landlords housing over 7,000 families in Cambridge and the surrounding areas.

Helpful Links

VIDEOCHA Proudly Wears Face Coverings In Public And At Our Properties To Help Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19. For regular updates, follow the Cambridge Housing Authority on Twitter @CambHousing.