Because the Massachusetts Legislature passed a temporary eviction and foreclosure moratorium in late April, thousands of families economically devastated by the pandemic have been able to stay in their homes. While that law provides Governor Baker the opportunity to extend the moratorium at increments of up to 90 days until 45 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, the Governor has publicly signaled that he plans to let these protections expire on October 17th.
It is estimated that anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 new evictions will occur when the moratorium expires!
Massachusetts Appleseed has previously advocated for the creation of a Right to Counsel pilot program that could protect many of these renters from eviction and potentially homelessness once the moratorium ends. Initially, we asked for a pilot program that would allow nonprofit and legal aid organizations to offer representation within 5,000 eviction cases.
But as the numbers of likely evictions continue to climb, addressing 5,000 cases is clearly not enough. The Right to Counsel Coalition has sent a letter to Governor Baker advocating for a comprehensive plan that ensures representation for tenants and landlords in 22,000 eviction cases. We need your help to make this happen before the eviction moratorium ends on October 17th!
What You Can Do
- Email Governor Baker and ask him to support S. 2785 to establish a COVID right to counsel pilot program, in addition to funding rental assistance.
- Call the Governor’s office TODAY (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and ask him to support S. 2785 to establish a COVID right to counsel pilot program, in addition to funding rental assistance.
- Main Office: 617-725-4005
- Toll-free: 888-870-7770
- TTY: 617-727-3666
You can send Governor Baker an email like this:
Dear Governor Baker,
- Fund rental assistance to stabilize people’s housing and prevent homelessness.
- Adopt a framework to provide time, protection, and housing assistance to tenants, homeowners, and landlords to keep people housed.
- Implement a statewide right to counsel program to prevent eviction and preserve tenancies.
Tenants, landlords, municipal leaders, health care professionals, and advocates are worried about what will happen when the eviction moratorium ends. The CDC moratorium is not enough. We urge you to use COVID relief funding to prevent housing instability and keep Massachusetts residents safe. We need your leadership to get us through this. Thank you.
Our Response to COVID-19
From developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – there’s work to be done. Learn more about steps we’re taking to aid our most vulnerable communities during the pandemic and how you can help.
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