Organization calls for moratorium on evictions during COVID-19 outbreak

BOSTON — In the midst of a global pandemic, some people are still fighting to have somewhere to go.

Trips are canceled, college classes are online-only, even sporting events are being suspended.

Authorities like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control are asking people to wash their hands, distance themselves from others and avoid gatherings.

But with eviction court, some residents have no choice but to pack into a courtroom to fight for their home.

It's not something they can skip if they feel sick because without a home, they won't have anywhere to self-quarantine.

[How to self-quarantine: Steps to take to keep family members & pets safe if you test positive for COVID-19]

That's why an organization called City Life, or Vida Urbana, is rallying outside the Edward Brooke Courthouse in Boston Wednesday. They want the state to place a moratorium on evictions during the outbreak.

"The stress of eviction court, the stress of threatened displacement will contribute directly to both contracting an illness such as the coronavirus and to how severely it affects you if you do contract the illness," City Life Communications Manager Helen Matthews said in a release. "Losing your home will disrupt a family’s ability to secure heath care and necessary medicines, thus adversely affecting an individual family and encouraging the spread of the virus."

The group is asking the housing court to close until the coronavirus crisis has passed as forcing people to attend the court could endanger more community members.

The group proposes allowing the court to continue dealing with owner-occupancy cases, which are fewer in number and involve close neighbors.

[Live updates: 445 Massachusetts residents currently under COVID-19 quarantine]