Mayor Walsh Appoints Lydia Edwards to Head Office of Housing Stability
BOSTON - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that Lydia Edwards, JD, LLM has been appointed to head the newly-formed Office of Housing Stability. As a Deputy Director within the Department of Neighborhood Development, Edwards will be responsible for programs to assist Boston residents in housing crisis - whether due to eviction, landlord-tenant disputes, rent escalations, unplanned loss of housing, or any other rental housing emergency. In addition, the office will be responsible forcollecting eviction data, evaluating for trends and responding accordingly.
"Housing affordability and preserving long term tenancies are critical to strong stable neighborhoods," Mayor Walsh said. "I know that with pressure on rents in Boston, some residents may face eviction and displacement. We need to do everything in our power to make sure that tenants know their rights, and put policies in place to support those at risk of displacement. I welcome Lydia Edwards to our team, and am confident her broad experience and passion for this work will be an asset to our city."
In his 2016 State of the City address, Mayor Walsh announced that the City would be forming an Office of Housing Stability to create efficiencies and better coordination of resources for tenants. The Office of Housing Stability will combine and focus the efforts of several existing City programs, in addition to adding additional capacity for this work. The leadership of this new office will report directly to the City of Boston's Chief of Housing.
Services Boston residents will be able to access will include:
- Improved case management: Residents seeking assistance through the Office of Housing Stability will be assigned a case manager, who will use newly-developed case management software to ensure quick resolution of issues. In addition to streamlining the process, this new protocol will also allow the City to work more seamlessly with outside agencies who do similar work.
- Eviction prevention: Trained housing advocates will assist residents in danger of losing their homes with advice, access to legal assistance, and resources where necessary. These advocates will work closely with landlords, management companies, housing authorities, and tenants to help residents stay housed.
- Emergency housing search: In case of fire or natural disaster, the Office of Housing Stability's staff will assist Boston residents in finding new, affordable housing as they recover.
In addition, the Office of Housing Stability will lead research, create recommendations, and implement new and improved policies and programs to make sure Boston residents are able to retain their homes. The office will be charged with drafting and reviewing new legislative and other public policy solutions to mitigate displacement, and will create new City programs to ensure housing stability in Boston's neighborhoods.
Ms. Edwards comes to the City from Greater Boston Legal Services, where she served as the Equal Justice Works Fellow. She represented domestic workers who survived labor trafficking, helping secure back wages and immigration relief. She also helped draft, implement and enforce the recently enacted Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights and coordinate state wide implementation of the new law.
An East Boston resident, Ms. Edwards has also served as a clerk for Massachusetts Appeals Court Justice R. Marc Kantrowitz, and as Law Clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court. She has a Masters of Law from Boston University's School of Law, holds a JD from American University Washington College of Law, and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Marymount College of Fordham University.