Dear Disability Community Members,
For the past few weeks, we’ve had beautiful New England fall weather. The leaves have changed into vibrant colors, the air has been mild, and the sun has been shining. In fact, it’s been so warm and sunny that it’s easy to forget the calendar says it is mid-November!
Winter is approaching quickly, so I wanted to take a few minutes to remind our community of some resources that are available for those experiencing housing instability due to COVID-19. Housing is a critical issue for the disability community during the best of times, and it is a critical part of our safety now. Please share the information below with your networks.
- Rental Relief Fund: This fund was created to help eligible Boston residents who are at risk of losing their rental housing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides financial assistance with rental payments for certain tenants in the city of Boston who meet the income requirements and do not have access to expanded unemployment benefits. Also, tenants whose unemployment benefits represent a significant reduction in their actual income due to the nature of their jobs may be eligible. You can apply for the fund online.
- Mortgage Relief for Homeowners: The City of Boston has made agreements with 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston to offer at least three months of deferred mortgage payments for homeowners who can demonstrate that they have been financially impacted by the public health crisis. In addition, these lenders have committed not to charge late fees or report non-payments to the credit bureaus. Homeowners will not be required to pay back the deferred mortgage payments in a lump sum, but will instead work with lenders on an affordable repayment plan. Read more about the City’s overall COVID-19 response, or contact your lender for more information.
- Individuals and Families At Risk of Losing Housing: There are two programs that may be able to assist individuals and families at risk of being displaced or forced to leave their homes due to COVID-19 employment loss: RAFT – Residential Assistance for Families in Transition; and ERMA, Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance. These programs provide financial assistance that can be used to help retain existing housing, obtain new housing, pay your mortgage, or otherwise avoid becoming homeless. Eligibility does not depend on source of income, lack of income, citizenship, or immigration status. You can apply for both programs through one application, which can be submitted and processed completely electronically. If you have other questions or need further guidance, visit the Metro Housing Boston eviction prevention page. You can also contact the Housing Hub at 617-425-6700 or email ResourceLine@MetroHousingBoston.org
- CDC Eviction Moratorium: When the state’s eviction moratorium expired on October 17th, a federal moratorium established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) became effective in Massachusetts. Through December, the CDC moratorium will prevent evictions for non-payment for qualified tenants who submit a written declaration to their landlord. Courts will accept eviction filings and process cases, and may enter judgments, but will not issue an order of execution (the court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant) until after the expiration of the CDC order. Protection is limited to households who meet certain income and vulnerability criteria. Use this declaration form to submit a request for eviction protection.
I hope you and your families are doing well during this time. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy this winter, so please remember to be vigilant about hand washing, face coverings, and social distancing. As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you need assistance. You can dial 311 to reach City Hall or call us at 617-635-3682. Our email is email@example.com and the latest updates are available at Boston.gov.
Until next week, please stay healthy and safe.
Commissioner Kristen McCosh
Contact Department: Disabilities Commission
Publish Date: Tue, 11/17/2020 – 10:29am