BOSTON — A Boston nonprofit organization has a dire forecast for Massachusetts renters.
City Life Vida Urbana, a housing advocacy group in Jamaica Plain, estimates more than 300,000 renters may be facing eviction during the pandemic.
“It’s staggering, staggering. It’s even higher than we thought,” City Life Executive Director Lisa Owens said.
The report estimates one in three Massachusetts renters are “unable to pay rent and are at risk of eviction.”
According to the survey, 42 percent of Black Massachusetts renters had “little to no confidence in paying August rent,” followed by 30 percent of Hispanic renters and 14 percent of White renters.
Owens said the pandemic is acting like an accelerant on middle and lower income communities already suffering.
“You have communities that are already vulnerable, then hit with the health and financial impact of COVID-19,” Owens said.
Dorchester-native Beverly Jones said she knows a lot of people who are struggling to pay bills during the pandemic.
“I know a lot of people in the Boston area who are struggling when it comes to rent,” Jones said.
Jones is unemployed and received her last federal stimulus check July 21.
“What I did get from the unemployment benefits, I tried to pay, pay, pay. Now that that’s cut, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Jones said.
Owens said City Life is throwing its support behind House Bill 4878, “An Act to guarantee housing stability during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery.”
That bill, co-sponsored by more than 80 state lawmakers, would offer assistance to the thousands who owe an estimated $429 million in unpaid rent, Owens said.
“It’s important for the world to know exactly how vulnerable Massachusetts is right now,” Owens said. “Right now, we’re asking what is the plan to support 1 in 3 renters who are afraid that they not be able to pay rent next month?”
The moratorium on evictions in Massachusetts expires Oct. 17.
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