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Boston Housing Authority extends moratorium for nonessential evictions through 2020

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Housing Authority

Policy addresses hardship in an unstable economy, reduces COVID-19 risks

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) today announced that the moratorium on nonessential evictions for BHA residents has been extended through the end of 2020. The moratorium offers housing stability to BHA's public housing residents and reduces coronavirus risks associated with the processing of its nonessential eviction cases. Nonessential evictions include all eviction proceedings except for those related to criminal activity and those that are necessary to protect the health and safety of BHA residents, employees, and others.

The Boston Housing Authority was the first major housing provider in Boston to implement an eviction moratorium on non-essential evictions in March. The extended moratorium will protect public housing residents as they face economic upheaval during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

"I want to commend the BHA for once again setting the example for our city's landlords," said Mayor Walsh. "These are extraordinary times, and right now, we all need to come together to ensure that our city's most vulnerable residents are able to continue to live and work in the city they call home. Our public housing communities are a critical and irreplaceable piece of the fabric of our city, and we want to make sure they are supported during these difficult times."

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has estimated that 18,000 households in Boston are currently having a difficult time paying their rent. 

"As we work to tackle an economic crisis and a public health emergency, it is critical that we take every step we can to ensure that our residents have stable housing," BHA Administrator Kate Bennett said. "This moratorium buys critical time for our residents to weather the COVID-19 public health emergency until both of these crises have abated."

Any BHA resident or voucher holder who is unable to pay current rent during the pandemic should notify their housing manager or landlord through text, email or printed letter and establish a plan for repayment. Although there is an eviction moratorium currently in place, it is temporary, and tenants are still required to perform their contractual obligation to pay their rent.

Residents or voucher holders facing a financial hardship must reach out to their voucher provider or BHA to re-certify their income and reduce their monthly payment. Statewide financial assistance for rent is available through RAFT funding.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston and the BHA have taken swift action to protect homeowners and renters from eviction, and have made resources available to help residents stay in their homes. In March, BHA and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced a new partnership to house up to 1,000 families with BPS students at risk of displacement and experiencing homelessness over the next year. More than 200 families with children in Boston Public Schools have been issued vouchers since March.

In addition, in March, the City partnered together with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and its entity the Massachusetts Apartment Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations to impose a moratorium on eviction while Massachusetts is under a state of emergency, which remains in effect. 

Building on the Mayor's support of promoting housing stability, he has supported statewide legislative efforts to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums beyond the original August 18 date, and issued a letter to the Legislature's Chairs of the Joint Committee on Housing expressing his support for legislation that would provide legal representation to low-income tenants and owner occupants in eviction proceedings. Prior to the moratorium, statewide over 90 percent of tenants were unrepresented in eviction proceedings. 

The City has also made over $1.1 million available to over 300 households in Boston through the Rental Relief Fund to assist tenants who were unable to make their rental payments.

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