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  Glossary of Terms

Worcester-Area Homelessness Prevention Agencies

There are several Worcester-area agencies that offer homelessness prevention services in addition to Emergency Assistance, RAFT, Foreclosure Prevention Programs, and Emergency Shelters.

Worcester-area Homelessness Prevention agencies include:

Abby's House

Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

Community Healthlink

Friendly House, Inc.

Homeless Prevention Center - Catholic Charities

Legal Services

NOTE: Glossary words are highlighted. Click on any glossary word to see its definition.

Abby's House

52 High Street
Worcester, MA 01609               Map and directions
Telephone: 508-756-5486

Office hours: 24 hours a day, every day of the year

Web site: Abby's House

Services:  Abby's House offers many services to help women and their children find housing and become self-sufficient. These include counseling and referrals, a food pantry and thrift shop, educational programs, and medical care. Abby's House helps women recovering from substance abuse, women with mental health problems or HIV/AIDS, and women who are victims of domestic violence. In addition, Abby's House offers emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing.

Eligibility:  Abby's House helps women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, age 18 or older, with or without children. They do not accept women actively abusing drugs or alcohol, but welcome women in recovery.

Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA)

6 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609               Map and directions
Telephone: 508-752-5519

Web site: The Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

Services:  The Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance works to prevent homelessness in two ways. It provides certain prevention services directly to people facing homelessness. It also provides support to other community organizations with homelessness prevention programs.

CMHA offers housing counseling assistance to help families and individuals avoid homelessness, including counseling on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, eviction procedures, code violations, and security deposit law. CMHA will work to get landlords to fix apartments with code violations so they are safe for their tenants.

CMHA also offers help to elder homeowners to keep their homes in safe condition, so they will not have to move. Professional workers will make emergency repairs to correct dangerous problems. The elder only has to pay for materials. Elders can also get help with routine maintenance such as snow shoveling, trash removal, and cleaning gutters.

CMHA runs the Donations Clearinghouse (DCH) which provides furniture and household goods to families referred by area shelters, neighborhood centers, and health and human service agencies. Donations are also distributed to families leaving shelters who are ready to move into an apartment of their own, those on limited incomes, fire victims, the elderly, disabled, and people with long term health problems.

Eligibility:  People or organizations needing help with homelessness and other housing issues are welcome to call the CMHA during their office hours or visit the CMHA during walk-in hours. There are no income eligibility requirements.

Community Healthlink

72 Jaques Avenue
Worcester, MA 01610               Map and directions
Telephone: 508-860-1260

Web site: Community Healthlink Services

Services:  Community Healthlink does outreach to link the area's homeless population with health, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and other services. Community Healthlink's HEART program provides emergency assessment and response to help the homeless and people at risk of homelessness.

Community Healthlink recognizes that homelessness is often linked to mental illness and substance abuse, and offers community outreach, case management, supportive and group housing, transitional housing, outpatient services, and residential treatment programs.

Eligibility:  Some programs require a referral from the Department of Mental Health or other agency. Some programs are open to anyone in need. Call Community Healthlink for more information.

Friendly House Inc.

36 Wall Street
Worcester, MA 01604               Map and directions
Telephone: 508-755-4362

Services:  Friendly House provides many homelessness prevention services for Worcester County residents, including:

  • housing search assistance
  • help filling out housing, food stamp, and medical care applications
  • information and referrals
  • food, clothing and furniture donations
  • holiday food and toy distributions
  • short-term cash assistance for utility payments
  • free legal help (by appointment)

Friendly house also provides emergency shelter, transitional shelter, and supportive housing. If Friendly House does not offer the services you need, they will find someone else who can help you.

Eligibility:  You must be a Worcester County resident.

Homeless Prevention Center - Catholic Charities

10 Hammond Street
Worcester, MA 01610               Map and directions
Telephone: 508-798-0191

Services:  The Catholic Charities Homeless Prevention Center offers help with utility and rent payments, housing search assistance, a food pantry, referrals, and other prevention services.

Eligibility:  These services are for very low income families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Legal Services

Two Legal Services programs serve the Worcester area: the Massachusetts Justice Project (MJP) and Community Legal Aid (CLA).

Contact information: How do I apply?
Web site: Legal Services Programs

Services:  The MJP and CLA offer free legal advice, guidance, referrals, and legal representation for non-criminal legal problems. They help with housing issues such as evictions or tenant/landlord disputes, housing discrimination, and other problems related to housing or homelessness.

Eligibility:  These services are for low income residents of Worcester County. Seniors age 60 or older are eligible for free legal services regardless of income.

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