The Act to Guarantee Housing Stability is CRITICAL to stem the avalanche of evictions that would otherwise await low-income tenants at the end of the eviction moratorium. See below from Homes for All MA Coalition to learn more and to contact your legislators!
Over 200 groups have endorsed this effort. Together we can win a victory for equity, public health, and racial and economic justice! Here’s what is needed right now:
* Urgent: Ask State Reps & State Senators to co-sponsor the Housing Stability bill, HD.5166/SD.2992. The deadline to co-sponsor is this Friday, July 10. This is an important way to build momentum. Focus on officials from districts where you live, have a base, etc. If the official is not already on the list of cosponsors, urge them to sign on. If they are already on, thank them and urge them to champion the bill.
* Get your members/base/activists/clients to make calls to their State Rep & Senator. This info page has a sample script and links to look up names/numbers of representatives by a constituent’s address. (The sample script is also copied at the end of this email.)
More details on the legislation and a sample script are below, but the most important task right now is to make a final push for co-sponsors. THANK YOU for your help with this!
– Homes for All Massachusetts
Why we need the Housing Stability Guarantee bill
Housing Court officials and landlord advocates are projecting up to 20,000 eviction cases will be in the system right after the current moratorium ends (likely on August 18). Of course that will have a disproportionate impact on Black people, communities of color, lower income, working class people, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations.
The Housing Stability Guarantee bill is the strong response we need. The bill helps tenants by preventing evictions based on COVID-19 impacts, halting rent increases for 1 year, and stopping no-fault evictions for 1 year. It helps homeowners by banning foreclosures and extending the right to mortgage deferment. And makes sure that owner-occupants and small-scale landlords will have first priority for stabilization funds that will go to property owners. Bill details are summarized in the letter and described in more detail on the fact sheet.
Sample call in script
“Hi, this is [your name]. I live at [street, city]. I have a message for [name of Rep/Senator]. I want them to support the Housing Stability bill. The bill number is HD.5166 and SD.2992. This is really important. If it doesn’t pass there could be 20,000 evictions in Massachusetts at the end of August. [I’d like to ask that they sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill before the deadline this Friday.] OR [I’m glad they signed on a co-sponsor. Please fight hard and be a champion for this bill.] Thanks!”
Note about rental assistance measures
Increased funding for rental assistance (like RAFT) will help and we support those efforts. However, even with greatly increased funding these programs will not not come close to matching the scale of the looming eviction crisis. The main problem is that there just won’t be enough money to go around.
Further, rental arrearage programs typically require tenants to show proof they are in the process of being evicted in order to qualify. By that stage, many tenants move out because they are unaware of their rights or afraid to go to court. This undermines the public health need to guarantee stability and prevent sudden moves, additional overcrowding, increased usage of shelter, etc.
Finally, rental arrearage programs are inaccessible to some of the most vulnerable tenants: people who are subtenants and/or live in apartments shared by multiple households; people who have landlords who refuse to cooperate; people who are unable to navigate an often difficult (and largely online) application process because of limited access to technology, lack of literacy, etc.
For these reasons, we need both increased rental assistance AND the Housing Stability Guarantee… as well as additional long term measures to address the housing and displacement crisis.