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Boston-area residents seeking rental aid attend housing assistance workshop in Roxbury – Boston University News Service – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-10-25 21:45:56 –

Emma Grassman-Hughes
Boston University News Service

ROXBURY — Faced with potential evictions, dozens of tenants packed Metro Housing Boston’s boardroom earlier this month for a free housing assistance workshop in Roxbury.

Participants, including those with limited incomes and those who lost their jobs in a pandemic, came on October 16 and applied for emergency rental assistance from state and federal programs to help them stay home and pay for utilities. Did.

When it expired last October, it needed other resources to replace the state-wide peasant eviction moratorium, according to Stephanie Cox, managing director of Massachusetts’ regional housing network. These resources include new support for transitional family rental assistance (RAFT), a state-wide initiative prior to Covid-19, and the Pandemic Federal Initiative and Product Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). ) Was included.

The fear of eviction of peasants is still imminent, according to July census data. 12,000 residents of MassachusettsI was worried that they would be “very likely” to face evictions next month.

Jefflandis, a spokesman for Metro Housing Boston, said that despite the available funding, many people are unaware that they are eligible for assistance or do not know how to apply for assistance. Between language barriers, inconsistent internet access, and threats from landlords, he said qualified applicants could miss the help they were eligible for.

“We found this application to be overwhelming for some,” Landis said. “We have a lot of people who don’t speak English, and you can’t just say” I need a little help “, and we give you a check. People don’t always understand it. “

According to Landis, the majority of the 75 registered participants were tenants who were “significantly late in rent” and “extremely afraid to move out.”

He said the landlord could threaten eviction even if the landlord could not legally remove someone from the house. The landlord must issue a “Notice of Termination” to begin the move-out process, but tenants can only be formally moved out by a judge in the Housing Court.

“People don’t always know it and they get anxious. Sometimes people just leave their apartment because they don’t know,” Landis said. “I’m sorry.”

Despite hiring and training nearly 100 new employees during the pandemic, organizations like Metro Housing Boston apply for housing assistance, especially if the documents are missing or misfilled. He said he didn’t have enough staff and resources to handle it.

The workshop assisted people throughout the application process with one-on-one support from volunteers and staff fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole.

“We just want people to apply because that’s the first step,” Landis said outside the Metro Housing Office. “We are trying to get the money out. That is our goal.”

Among the participants was Theodora Lopez, who heard about the workshop through a social worker at a children’s school.

Rope’s brought in three daughters of a five-year-old quartet. Returning to his home on Dudley Street, Lopez has two more children, a fourth child, a boy, and an eight-year-old daughter.

“It’s just me and my kids. Dad sometimes helps, but not every day,” said Lopez, who submitted her application when the daughters began to get angry. “it’s difficult.”

Another attendee was Alphonse, a 67-year-old Chelsea resident who emigrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Boston in 2011 with his wife and two sons. He was dismissed from work at the advertising agency JCDecaux Group early in the pandemic and delivered food to DoorDash to lift his family.

Alphonse, who asked for the family name to be omitted, spends 40 hours a week delivering, but rent and utilities are still behind. Workshop volunteers helped him organize the application, but he couldn’t submit it yet because he lost the paperwork.

While the pandemic has made life difficult for many, Cox also revealed state priorities for housing equity. She said state legislators and the affordable housing community need to work together to develop a “vision” for the future of emergency rental assistance.

“These affordable housing programs are absolutely necessary, but not enough, to solve our housing crisis,” she said.

Cox emphasized the need for a strong commitment to “service very low-income households so that the burden is not disproportionately reduced as in our society.”

Boston-area residents seeking rental aid attend housing assistance workshop in Roxbury – Boston University News Service Source link Boston-area residents seeking rental aid attend housing assistance workshop in Roxbury – Boston University News Service

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