On Saturday October 17, 2020, the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium which has been in place since April will officially expire. GBREB has been working tirelessly on this issue talking with Legislators, the Governor, the Courts and Housing Providers. A press release
was issued by the Governor establishing a SafetyNet called the Eviction Diversion Initiative
as the Moratorium expires.
What this means for members:
Residential Evictions may proceed subject to the requirements of the Federal Moratorium
Commercial real estate evictions will no longer be affected by State or Federal CDC Moratorium
law and may proceed through the legal process.
Some of the key components include:
• $100 million in emergency rental assistance through the RAFT program and an increase in available grant amounts from $4,000 to $10,000 per household, in-line with our recommendation since this summer’s Week of Advocacy. The benefits of this program will be available to property owners with up to 20 rental units and upon application by the property owner, with resident consent. Both of these elements are in-line with our advocacy to increase protections for property owners with more than four-units and to empower property owner to apply for aid (currently RAFT only accepts applications from residents). Acceptance of RAFT assistance requires the preservation of tenancies for 6-months or, for households with school-age children, the longer of: 6-months or until June 2021.
• Up to $12.3 million to provide both property owners and residents with access to legal representation and related services during the eviction process.
• Nearly $50 million for post-eviction rapid re-housing.
• Expansion of Housing Consumer Education Centers and pre-court community mediation. Keep an eye out for more information on how MAR will be playing an active role in providing mediation assistance statewide.
Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative
The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium.
EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits. This should help tremendously with some tenants who have had difficulty in the application process. The Administration is also kicking off a public communication campaign to help ensure residents know about these available resources. There will be more to come in the days to follow as the plan unfolds, and GBREB will keep you updated on the latest developments.