City services and benefits
Dial 3-1-1 (or 617-635-4500) to reach operators for the City’s non-emergency 24-hour phone line. BOS:311 can transfer you to any City service or City department. You can also report issue with the City service, like a missed collection or potholes.
BOS:311 takes calls every day of the year and can answer questions in many different languages.
Volunteer attorneys provide free one-on-one immigration legal help at clinics. They take place on the first and third Wednesday of every month, from 12 – 2 p.m. in Room 806 at Boston City Hall. You don’t need an appointment. Our office also organizes citizenship and legal screening clinics. We even offer referrals to community and legal organizations.
- file a complaint for unpaid wages, overtime, and vacation pay
- file a demand for worker’s compensation benefits if you are injured on the job
- sue an employer if you’re fired for speaking out about working conditions or wages
- organize and bargain over wages and working conditions, and
- protection against discrimination. This can be based on your sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, transgender status, race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, national origin, or age.
- Boston Police won’t detain you for reporting a crime. Call 9-1-1 if you’re the victim of a crime, or see something that concerns you.
- Boston Police follow a community policing practice. They don’t ask about or report your immigration status. They also don’t arrest or detain immigrants unless there is a warrant.
- You do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with the police or any other officials.
- Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.
- You should only go to a licensed lawyer or a BIA accredited representative for immigration legal advice.
- Notaries and other community members are only able to fill out forms. They should not be advising you on what form to fill out, or how to fill out the form.
Community and after-school programs
Classes and activities for all ages, including English classes, literacy classes, and exam help.Youth Engagement & Employment (617-635-2240)
Find after-school programs, scholarships, summer jobs, and other opportunities for youth.
At our 24 neighborhood branches, you can find:
- books, DVDs, and CDs to borrow
- free internet and computer access
- computer and English classes, and
- children’s activities.
Each Boston Public Library branch has an Immigrant Information Corner. There, you can explore immigration information, financial planning, and tax help. Some branches even have workshops on immigration services.
Domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse
This is a statewide program. Trained advocates offer:
- confidential support
- help with safety planning
- connections to shelters, and
- referrals to community services.
Public schools are free and available to all. Contact the Boston Public School Welcome Center nearest to you:
- Dorchester, 617-635-8015; 1216 Dorchester Ave.
- Roxbury, 617-635-9010; 2300 Washington St., 2nd floor
- Roslindale, 617-635-8040; 515 Hyde Park Ave.
- East Boston, 617-635-9597; 312 Border St.
- Mattapan, 617-635-9596; 5 Mildred Ave.
You can get more support for students learning English.
Anyone can apply to a college or university, but the costs vary. The Supporting Undocumented Youth resource guide lists available scholarships, regardless of immigration status. You can find the information on pages 23 - 26.Public Colleges and universities
Massachusetts residents, including undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), pay in-state tuition. This is a lower than normal amount. Undocumented students without DACA must pay out-of-state tuition. This amount is higher.Private Colleges and universities
Anyone can apply to a private college or university. Some may offer scholarships regardless of immigration status.Adult Education (617-635-9300)
Find adult classes in literacy, English, job training, or to get a high school diploma.
Food, healthcare, homelessness
Get information on food pantries and community meal programs. You can also get help applying for:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
There are limitations depending on your immigration status. But, household members may be eligible.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
This program is for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to age five.
Enroll in health insurance, locate health centers, and find information about:
- child care
- food assistance
- elderly services, and
- legal help.
The BHA offers stable, quality affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people. There are some limitations depending on your immigration status.Inspectional Services Department (ISD) (617-635-5300)
Inspections officers help enforce building, housing, health, sanitation, and safety regulations. You can file a complaint about a landlord or tenant with them. Did you experience discrimination or mistreatment by your landlord for filing a complaint? Contact Inspectional Services or the Office of Fair Housing and Equity.
You can get help with many issues, including:
- buying a home or keeping a home
- starting, expanding, or improving a small businesses, and
- learning the rights and responsibilities in landlord and tenant conflicts.