An alternative to a shelter or motel, Way Finders provides those facing homelessness who are eligible with emergency assistance to help with first month, last month and security deposit payments for a new home as well as furniture, utilities, travel costs and other expenses. People who qualify will receive assistance from a case manager, who will advise them on education, job training, childcare and other services available.
Way Finders Housing Center Services
Housing Support Services
Emergency Financial Assistance
The Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) contracts with Way Finders to provide a safe living environment and re-housing services. In order to be referred to Way Finders Residential Resource Centers, families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness must be determined eligible by their local DHCD office. From emergency housing, families move into their own rental units and are assisted by a case manager for 12 months of stabilization support services.
Domestic Violence Situations
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call 911 police emergency or (413) 733-7100 for the YWCA Abuse & Rape Crisis Hotline immediately, day or night.
Way Finders residential programs provide transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence through our Safe Step program. Families are referred by a variety of partner agencies, including domestic violence shelters, the Massachusetts Department of Families and Children and Department of Transitional Assistance. In transitional housing, families who have been homeless receive supportive services while living for 18 to 24 months in Way Finders leased apartments.
Help for Pregnant and/or Parenting Young Women
Way Finders serves chronically homeless pregnant and/or parenting young women ages 18 to 24, providing permanent supportive housing in Holyoke through Way Finders Turning Point program. Referrals come from a variety of partner agencies, including the Care Center, Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Children and Families.
Secure Jobs Initiative
Way Finders provides job readiness training, job placement and retention services to individuals under the Secure Jobs Initiative (SJI). Participants eligible for SJI receive one-to-one support with Employment Specialists to develop a comprehensive career plan. Participants are provided with individualized job development in collaboration with area One-Stop Career Centers and other housing providers. Job Developers assist participants in obtaining and retaining employment with ongoing support for one year.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Way Finders is a federally approved provider of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Path to Work and Outreach Programs.
SNAP Path to Work is a federal-state-local partnership administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance. The program provides participants with the skills, training, experience and employment support needed to find and keep good paying jobs.
Through SNAP Outreach, Way Finders helps individuals and families to determine eligibility, make informed decisions about applying for the program and access benefits. For those receiving SNAP benefits who need help completing the recertification assessment, Way Finders provides one-to-one assistance.
Way Finders oversees several state and federally funded programs that assist families in paying their housing costs. In most cases, families must find housing that meets program requirements and safety standards. The amount of rental assistance families receive is based on household income. Each month, families pay their share of the rent directly to the landlord, and Way Finders pays the rental assistance amount. Rental support programs include the following:
- Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)
- Rental Assistance for Housing Rehabilitation
- Project-based Section 8 Rental Assistance
- Rental Assistance for Special Populations
- Massachusetts Learning, Employment and Asset Program (MassLEAP)
Home Ownership Services
Home Buyer Education
Way Finders offers a First-time Homebuyers course that covers all of the steps involved in finding, financing, purchasing and maintaining a home. The course introduces the wide range of programs and financing resources available to first-time buyers. The course is delivered in a classroom setting, held regularly throughout the region, and online; both are offered in English and Spanish.
If you are thinking about buying a two-, three- or four-family home, we encourage you to attend a rental property management workshop.
Way Finders offers a Financial Education workshop in English and Spanish for help with money management, household budgeting and credit repair. After completing the Workshop, graduates are entitled to receive their credit report and individual counseling at no cost.
Home Owner Education
Way Finders offers a Post-purchase workshop to guide new homeowners through budgets, maintenance, insurance and how to avoid predatory loans and other credit confusion. Opportunities for discounts on insurance and other benefits are available upon completion.
Foreclosure Prevention Counseling
We provide free and confidential guidance in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire and Franklin counties. Our staff of certified Homeownership Counselors helps those facing possible mortgage defaults and foreclosures to access appropriate resources. If you are a homeowner at risk of losing your home through foreclosure, please contact us at 413-233-1622.
Home Financing Assistance
Way Finders helps homeowners access low-cost or specialized home financing options. These financing programs can lower mortgage payments, assist with down payments or help address lead-base paint hazards.
Specialized Homeowner Funding
There are several programs available to homeowners to help them modify their homes in order to meet the needs of elders, adults with disabilities and families with children who have disabilities, or to address lead-based paint hazard.
Section 8 Rental Housing Voucher Program
Section 8 is the federal government’s voucher program that assists low-income individuals and families to afford decent, safe, sanitary housing. Way Finders provide education, counseling and resources to help landlords understand how Section 8 works for both tenants and landlords.
Time-Limited Rental Support
Way Finders serve local families who are homeless or at high risk of homelessness with time limited support with substantial case management, job placement, education and stabilization support for families. The ultimate goal is for both the family and the landlord to achieve the benefits of long-term, stable tenancy.
We offer a variety of workshops that address both the legal and interpersonal aspects of renting property. Topics include Massachusetts housing laws and codes, types of tenancy, tenant screening, landlord/tenant relations, issues related to substance abuse, the eviction process and lead paint. Find upcoming classes here.
Property Management Manual
This standard reference for Massachusetts Rental Property Owners is an invaluable resource for all Massachusetts landlords. It provides comprehensive information on all matters of renting property including: legal and financial matters, health and safety maintenance, the obligations of landlords and tenants, and ways to deal with communication issues and conflicts. Purchase the book here.
Support for Landlords
As a participating landlord, you have ready access to the specific Housing Specialist assigned to your tenant. We also can provide counseling on property management issues. Learn more.
Landlords can list their properties directly from our website onto GoSection8, the largest affordable housing listing service in the nation, whether you accept section 8 rental vouchers or not.
When landlord/tenant issues arise, we are able to refer the matter to a neutral third-party mediator to help both sides reach a fair agreement.
Several programs offer landlords financial assistance to address the presence of lead or to make necessary property modifications in order to accommodate the needs of elders, adults with disabilities and families with children who have disabilities. For more information on programs like Get the Lead Out and the Home Modifications Loan Program, visit here or call 413.233.1621.