Open Doors for the Homeless enables unhoused neighbors to transition out of homelessness through raising money for the Community Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF)

What is CHAF?

The Community Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF) was founded by a coalition of community banks and local realtors working with HomeStart in order to provide emergency assistance to end and prevent homelessness for our neighbors in need across Cambridge and Boston. Through the years, CHAF has supported the homeless community as follows:


  • Helped over 2,500 Cambridge and Boston households to avoid homelessness or move out of homelessness by paying expenses related to rental housing startup costs (first and last month’s rent, security deposit, and rental fees)

  • Saved cities millions in tax dollars, given that it costs >$30,000/year to house a family in an emergency shelter

  • The average amount of CHAF assistance is just $730, representing significant savings in valuable taxpayer dollars by avoiding the crisis and cost of homelessness

Responding to Crisis

As eviction moratoriums approach their end date, the housing impact of the COVID crisis is just beginning for the most vulnerable members of our community.  A recent study revealed that nearly 395,000 Massachusetts renter households have little to no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent.


HomeStart has partnered with the Cities of Boston and Cambridge to increase the number of its advocates working to stabilize these households in crisis– but HomeStart’s staff and clients need to know that CHAF will be able to meet this increased demand.


Our lead sponsors invite you to work together with us to ensure that neighbors thrown into housing crisis by the pandemic will be able to count on CHAF.

Join our Lead Sponsors in supporting CHAF

Sponsors may donate online or by contacting:
Cindy Rubin at

617.542.0338 x230

United Way
IF Challenge

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Boston, MA 02111


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SIF 2018

Social Innovator

For the safety of our clients and staff, walk-in hours are halted until further notice. For general inquiries or updates, please leave us a voicemail at 617-542-0338 or email us at