The Network was pleased to submit written testimony in support of S.2785, An Act promoting housing stability and homelessness prevention through a right to counsel pilot program in Massachusetts in response to the COVID-emergency.
Over 15,000 eviction filings are predicted when the eviction moratorium lifts (currently slated for August 15). Massachusetts housing law was written with the expectation that both tenants and landlords would have legal representation. Right now, over 92% of tenants go through the eviction process without a lawyer while over 70% of landlords have representation. The consequence is homelessness for thousands of tenants.
This bill, S.2785, would provide lawyers for low-income tenants facing evictions (and owner-occupied landlords) in targeted areas hardest hit by COVID-19, including Western MA. It is a critical component of the statewide homelessness prevention strategy during this time (in conjunction with the Act to Guarantee Housing Stability).
As an organization, you can sign on to the Right to Counsel Coalition as a supporter – it’s 130 strong statewide already (with great Western MA representation!) and let’s make it even stronger. Go to https://www.massrtc.org/supporters.html to sign on!
Finally, we can be proud and grateful to our Western MA delegation. The bill has 46 co-sponsors, including many from Western MA: Senator Comerford, Senator Hinds, Senator Welch, Representative Blais, Representative Carey, Representative Domb, Representative Mark, Representative Pignatelli, Representative Puppolo, Representative Sabadosa, Representative Tosado, Representative Whipps, Representative Williams. Send them a note of thanks or make a request to your Rep or Senator if they’re not on this list.
We know we all share the same goal: keeping people safe in their homes. Thanks for your partnership in making that happen.