MAPC applauds extra rental assistance, pushes for eviction moratorium extension

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 12

Today, Governor Baker announced a serious response to the looming eviction crisis, including much-needed funds for rental assistance to at-risk tenants, assistance for landlords, funding toward legal assistance in court, and expansion of mediation services to keep housing cases out of the courtroom in the first place. As the regional planning agency for Greater Boston, MAPC applauds the Administration for taking these significant steps toward securing housing stability in our region.

At the same time, we are disappointed the Governor did not extend the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to December 31, which is when the federal ban on evictions set by the CDC would end. The state moratorium is more protective than the CDC ban, and a 10-week replacement of one moratorium for another will sow confusion among landlords and tenants alike. Removal of the state moratorium now could result in evictions beginning as soon as January. This may force displaced tenants into overcrowded housing situations, placing them at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Worse, it is likely to increase homelessness at the harshest possible time of year, the middle of winter, when weather and flu risk are most severe.

According to research we released just last week, at least 80,000 households in Massachusetts – both tenants and landlords – will struggle to cover housing costs alongside other living expenses this month, leading to potentially tens of thousands of housing removals once the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires.

We hope the Legislature will extend the state moratorium as soon as possible, at least under December 31, to maximize the impact of the Governor’s stabilizing initiatives announced today. We also hope the federal government will finally provide meaningful resources to prevent housing instability and homelessness both in Massachusetts and across the country, by promptly passing a comprehensive and sizeable relief package for unemployed tenants and homeowners.

Amanda Linehan
Communications Director
Metropolitan Area Planning Council