Housing advocates want legislators to protect Massachusetts tenants, homeowners

Massachusetts News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Since October, when the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures was lifted in Massachusetts, eviction cases have been increasing. The CDC moratorium is set to expire on June 30, potentially leaving more tenants and homeowners vulnerable to evictions.

Housing advocates in Springfield are calling on the state to pass the COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill to protect tenants and homeowners.

“The shelter system and court system are not equipped to handle this onslaught that we will see of evictions and foreclosures so that is why we need action by the state on this issue,” said Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman.

The bill would require landlords to pursue and cooperate with rental assistance programs before pursuing evictions, as well as protect the most vulnerable tenants from forced removal.

Rose Webster Smith is with the organization Springfield no one leaves. She says it would ensure the federal rental assistance fund would reach those most in need.

“That’s what gives tenants continuance in their court cases while they are waiting for the money to come through,” said Webster-Smith. “Without putting protections in place, you are going to see people evicted before they can get the money for the rental assistance.”

Webster Smith pointed to data from the Massachusetts Trial Court that she said showed more than 14,000 new eviction cases were filed since the end of the state’s moratorium.

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