Finding Your Way: Housing

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Subsidized Housing
Housing Authority Offices
Other Housing Agencies
Renting an Apartment
Renting a Room in a Lodging House
Getting a Telephone
Utilities
Electricity
Fuel
Resale shops and Thrift stores
Rummage, Yard, and Garage Sales
Subsidized Housing
Housing Authority Offices
Most towns in Massachusetts have a Housing Authority Office that assists with the placement of qualified people in subsidized (low cost) apartments. Qualifications vary, so it is necessary to contact the local office directly. Numbers for your town can be found in your town’s Verizon Yellow Pages. 

Framingham Housing Authority 
www.framha.org
1 John J. Brady Dr., Framingham, 01702 
Telephone: 508-879-7562 

Marlborough Community Development Authority
www.marlborough-ma.gov/Gen/MarlboroughMA_CommDvlpmt
255 Main St., Room 116, Marlborough, 01752 
Telephone: 508-460-3715

Other Housing Agencies
South Middlesex Non-Profit Housing Corporation, SMOC 
www.smoc.org/index.asp?pgid=11
300 Howard Street, Framingham, MA 01702 
Telephone: 508-620-2300
SMOC manages housing for subsidized and low-income families and individuals. Call for information and qualifying guidelines. SMOC also provides assistance in the following areas: 
Rental Assistance & Family Self Sufficiency- 508-620-1230 / 1-800-286-6776
Fuel Assistance, Weatherization & Heating Systems Assistance, Food Stamp Distribution- 508-620-1230 / 1-800-286-6776 

Jewish Family Services of MetroWest
www.jfsmw.org
475 Franklin Street, Framingham, MA 01702 
Telephone: 508-875-3100 
The Jewish Family Services of MetroWest New American program assists people from the former Soviet Union, from their initial resettlement in the community through their citizenship. Services include helping new arrivals to find housing, set up apartments with furniture donations, learn English, and find employment. Help is also available for fuel assistance and food pantries. 

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Renting an Apartment
In order to rent an apartment you may call a rental agency or look through the classified section of major newspapers such as the MetroWest Daily News (http://realestate.wickedlocal.com) or The Boston Globe (www.boston.com/realestate) (the MetroWest Daily News is more convenient if you are looking for an apartment in the Framingham area). In a newspaper ad you usually can find all the information you need about an apartment: location, number of bedrooms, neighborhood conditions, and price. If you agree to rent an apartment, you have to sign a contract with your landlord where all terms and responsibilities of tenant and landlord are stated. There are two types of contract: lease and tenant at will. 

A lease states that you agree to stay in this apartment a certain amount of time (usually a year). In that case the landlord cannot ask you to leave the apartment during that period, but if you leave the apartment before the end of the lease, you are subject to a fine. You sign a new lease every time the lease ends. 

If you are a tenant at will, that means you or your landlord must notify the other 30 days before moving out. 

When you have rented the apartment, the landlord usually asks you to pay in advance the first and last month’s rent; he or she might also ask you for a security deposit. A landlord cannot collect more than one month’s rent as a security deposit, which must be held in an interest-bearing Massachusetts bank account. You are entitled to 5% interest or the actual interest received by the landlord from the bank, whichever is less. Interest is payable annually within 30 days of the yearly anniversary date of your tenancy. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord may only deduct from the deposit for unpaid rent, certain unpaid real estate tax increases, and for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear. The security deposit must be returned, nothing deducted, within 30 days after the tenancy ends or you are entitled to triple damages (three times the amount of the deposit). If this happens to you, you must pursue your claim through the small claims court. You do not need a lawyer. The court clerk will explain how to file a claim. 

Renting a Room in a Lodging House
Lodging houses, also known as boarding or rooming houses, offer rooms for rent. View a list of licensed lodging houses in Framingham. This list is supplied by the Town of Framingham Licensing Department.

Getting a Telephone
To begin telephone service in your apartment or house in the Framingham area you must call 1-800-870-9999. You will reach Verizon, the local telephone company. For more information, visit Verizon’s website at www.verizon.com

You will be asked for the following information: 
Address: Where the new phone will be installed. 
Social Security Number: If you do not have a Social Security number, just tell them. It is not mandatory: you still can get telephone service. 
Telephone Number: Where you can be reached, such as work number, landlord’s number, friend’s number. 
Billing Address: Who will pay the bill and where it should be sent. 
Type of Service You Want: There are several plans available. For details, look in the Verizon Yellow Pages. You also may be interested in other optional services for an extra fee. 

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Utilities
Electricity
NStar
Telephone: 1-800-592-2000 
Serves Framingham, Ashland, and surrounding towns. There are discounts for people eligible for fuel assistance or receiving other services. Call 1-800-566-2080 for information about this program. 

National Grid
Telephone: 1-800-322-3223
Serves Marlboro, Hudson, and surrounding towns. 

To begin electric service in your apartment, you must call one of the electric companies listed above. You will be asked the following information: 
Name: Who is responsible for the bill.
Address: Where the service will be reconnected.
Social Security Number: If you do not have one, just tell them. It is not mandatory. You will still get service without one.
Telephone Number: Where you can be reached to schedule an on-site visit to turn on the power.
Billing Address: Where the bill should be sent.
Date: When you will take over electric service. They require a minimum of 48 hours notice before starting service.

Fuel
SMOC
www.smoc.org/index.asp?pgid=27
300 Howard St., Framingham, MA 01702 
Telephone: 508-620-1230 / 1-800-286-6776
Eligible households can receive assistance paid directly to their heating vendor for the winter months. Eligibility is calculated based on the income of the last 30 days. Call SMOC to schedule an appointment.

Resale Shops and Thrift Stores
There are a growing number of resale shops in the Metrowest area. These stores sell “gently used” or “second hand” items. The items are sold for much less than they cost when they were new. The money you pay for an item is split between the shopkeeper and the person who brings in the things to sell. Some stores specialize in clothes for children or adults. These are great places to buy children’s clothes because children outgrow their clothes so quickly. You get a bargain and the clothes are usually in good condition since they have been worn for only a short time. Other resale stores have sports equipment, computers, or household items. Look in the Verizon Yellow Pages under “consignment store” for names and addresses of shops. 

The Salvation Army
www.satruck.com
34 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01702 
Telephone: 508-875-9106 

St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store
www.svdpusa.org
444 Franklin St., Framingham, MA
Telephone: 508-879-7873
Children’s & Adult’s clothing, household items, furniture.

Rummage Sales, Yard Sales and Garage Sales
Churches, schools and other groups hold rummage sales or clothing exchanges. These are usually advertised in the local newspapers. They are a good place to find inexpensive used clothing and household items. Yard sales or garage sales are also listed in the newspapers under the Classified section. You may see signs for these sales posted on the street. When a family has used clothing or household items they want to sell, they can do this by selling them from their yard or garage. These usually happen in the spring, summer, and fall. It is ok to negotiate over the price of items. 

August 2008

 

 

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Updated on 10/28/2013 02:40 PM
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