Let’s join our voices with Homes for All Massachusetts and many other partners for this statewide action:
Contact the Joint Committee on Housing that we still need tenant and homeowner protections and ask them to advance H.1434 & S.891. Here are some quick action items:
- Contact Senate Chair Keenan and House Chair Arciero and ask them to move this bill forward right away!
- Share a story from your organization about the crisis – the State House needs to know that Massachusetts tenants and homeowners are still in crisis. Add your story here and share on social media!
- Join our Twitter Storm on Tuesday, November 16th at 10:30 am – reply to this email to let us know you’ll be participating!
- Come to our action hour to learn how to participate in the digital day of action on Tuesday, November 16th at 10:00am – please register here.
Tenants and homeowners are still in crisis
Since the Governor lifted the statewide eviction moratorium in October 2020 there have been over 25,500 new eviction cases filed in Massachusetts – most of them for non-payment of rent. During this same time Massachusetts received over $800 million dollars in rental assistance from the federal government. With this much money in tenant assistance available, it doesn’t make sense that so many evictions have been filed.
Over 30,000 Massachusetts homeowners are over 90 days behind on their mortgage payments and over 200,000 homeowners are not confident they can make their next payment. There are thousands of foreclosures happening NOW in Massachusetts. During this same time Massachusetts received over $178 million dollars in homeowner assistance but that money will not be distributed until at least spring 2022. With this much money in homeowner assistance available, there should not be so many homeowners behind on their mortgage or getting foreclosed on.
What about existing legal protections?
Since the state moratorium was lifted we have been left with an inadequate patchwork of limited legal protections that has helped some tenants, but far too many have been left vulnerable to eviction and foreclosure. Beginning in 2021, the Legislature’s “Chapter 257” protections have delayed or prevented forced removal for some tenants waiting for rental assistance funds. But even those tenants whose cases were resolved with rental assistance funds now have a permanent eviction record and will face barriers finding new housing. Many others were unable to access assistance and faced eviction despite being covered because these protections are not automatic. In August 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal CDC eviction moratorium, and Massachusetts saw an immediate and dramatic spike in the number of physical evictions ordered.
Homeowners affected by the pandemic have similarly been left without meaningful protections against losing their homes. A federal ban on certain foreclosures expired in July 2021, leaving most homeowners with very few mandatory protections. National analysts predict a huge number of foreclosures will begin in January 2022 when the remaining Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requirements expire and homeowners’ forbearance plans come to an end.
Tenant and homeowner displacement is a race equity issue
Study after study has shown that evictions affect residents in communities of color disproportionately, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated this inequity. Similarly, homeowners at risk of foreclosure are disproportionately non-white borrowers living in Gateway Cities.