Eviction moratorium expires Saturday

BOSTON — The federal eviction moratorium implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to expire on Saturday and according to the CDC, the previous extension of the moratorium in June was intended to be the final one.

This could mean millions of people impacted by the pandemic and unable to pay for housing will lose it. President Joe Biden said Thursday his hands are tied following a Supreme Court decision on the matter.

In Massachusetts, a new law extending hardship protections runs through April of 2022, but only for renters who applied for financial assistance. The law also requires that landlords provide tenants with a Notice to Quit for non-payment and information on rental assistance. The notice to tenants says the following:

“THIS NOTICE TO QUIT IS NOT AN EVICTION. YOU DO NOT NEED TO IMMEDIATELY LEAVE YOUR UNIT. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A LEGAL PROCEEDING IN WHICH YOU CAN DEFEND AGAINST THE EVICTION. ONLY A COURT ORDER CAN FORCE YOU TO LEAVE YOUR UNIT.”

In addition, the state has used $171 million in rental assistance money but has over 400 million in federal money set aside and the Governor has said he’d like to use additional federal dollars to help with housing issues. Tens of thousands of people still face evictions according to lawmakers advocating for more protections.

Homeless shelters and other assistance facilities are now preparing for a potential fallout from the moratorium expiration.

“We have seen this crisis building over the course of the pandemic and in response, we have increased our eviction prevention efforts by 72 percent,” Leemarie Mosca, president and CEO of Rosie’s Place in Boston, told Boston 25 News. “As the moratorium lifts, we anticipate an avalanche of need for our advocacy, legal and stabilization services. We have always been a safety net for women struggling to keep their housing. But now more than ever, as housing truly is healthcare, we are a lifeline.”

Dorchester resident Nekesha Johnson told Boston 25 News on Saturday that she is able to pay her rent, but knows people who continue to struggle.

“It’s pretty tough for a lot of people, I hear people talking,” she said.

Johnson explained that her friend struggled to keep her job at Dunkin Donuts through the pandemic when her kids were sent home for remote learning.

On top of that, she said her friend’s rent is now increasing as the market bounces back.

“It is going up. A lot of people have to pay more for rent now,” she said.

Johnson said it’s imperative people are able to keep a roof over their heads as the COVID-19 threat continues.

“It’s very important, a lot of people have kids too. Nobody wants to be homeless,” she said.

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