Our Western Massachusetts Legislative Delegation has stepped up once again to urge immediate action to “stop the ramp-down of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and allocate additional funds to the program” in letters to House and Senate Leadership.
Please see the Senate letter here, signed by all 6 Western MA Senators, including Senators Jo Comerford (lead signer), Anne Gobi, Adam Gomez, Adam Hinds, Eric Lesser and John Velis. And please see the House letter here, signed by 15 of our region’s Representatives, including Representatives Bud Williams (lead signer), Brian Ashe, John Barrett, Natalie Blais, Dan Carey, Mindy Domb, Pat Duffy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Carlos González, Paul Marks, Jake Oliveira, Smitty Pignatelli, Angelo Puppolo, Orlando Ramos, Lindsay Sabadosa, Susannah Whipps.
As the letter to the Senate President and House Speaker states:
Over 3,700 evictions for non-payment of rent have been filed in Western Massachusetts alone (and over 18,000 statewide) since the eviction moratorium ended in October 2020. We know that many families, in fear of eviction, are leaving upon receipt of a notice to quit, before legally required to do so, causing displacement and untold trauma. We also know that access to rental assistance offers a critical lifeline to housing stability when no
other recourse exists.
Yet, as rental assistance applications are increasing and COVID-19 infections are breaking
records, DHCD has implemented changes that will place additional burdens on families and
individuals already in crisis and end this critical lifeline. These changes were put in place without
input from community stakeholders and with almost no notice to households counting on
assistance to remain in their homes…
We must take action now to ensure an equitable housing recovery. We ask our chamber to take emergency action to access resources from the $2.25 billion remaining from the state’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fiscal recovery funds to replenish ERAP and eliminate barriers to access.”
Please take a minute to thank our legislators for taking quick and decisive action on behalf of our most vulnerable households. You can find their contact information here.
We look forward to next steps together with this continued urgency to ensure people stay safely in their homes.