Downing urges Beacon Hill to expedite rental assistance as federal eviction moratorium expires

End of federal protections leaves hard-hit families and communities preparing for an “eviction wave” just as COVID numbers spike again

For Immediate Release:
August 4, 2021


East Boston, MA – Ahead of the impending expiration of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium this weekend, former state senator, clean energy business leader, and current gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing urged Beacon Hill to act immediately to protect families from eviction, just as COVID cases spike again in Massachusetts.

While the state has significant rental assistance funds and has distributed some support, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development has rejected 90 percent of applicants for aid so far this year.

“As our state leaders fail to get rental aid into the hands of tenants who need it, the eviction moratorium has shielded countless families from complete crisis,” said Downing. “But that shield goes away on Saturday. With this expiration on the horizon for months, housing advocates across the state have been clearly sounding the alarm about the confusing and cumbersome process the state set up to get this assistance out the door. Instead of recognizing the urgency and moving quickly to fix a clearly broken process, Beacon Hill has been consumed by infighting over a funding turf war. With two days left, we have no more time to waste. We need the Governor and Beacon Hill to have the urgency and compassion to expedite rental assistance to applicants, pass the COVID Housing Equity Bill to create further protections, and ensure a right to counsel for anyone who finds themselves in court fighting for their home, just as the next wave of a ruthless pandemic hits our communities.”