The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now extending the moratorium on evictions, which had just expired days ago, targeting protection in areas at higher risk for COVID-19 transmission.
The latest data from the CDC shows all Massachusetts counties besides Franklin and Hampshire has high or substantial transmission. In areas in those categories, people are advised to wear masks indoors and public, and now, evictions in those places are prohibited.
"It's really sorely needed," said Jessica Andors, executive director of Lawrence CommunityWorks.
She says thousands of people in Lawrence are still struggling to make rent amid the pandemic.
"People losing housing has a cascade of other effects," said Andors. "It's much cheaper for society to keep someone in their homes than to start dealing with all the fallout if a family becomes homeless."
"This is not a resolution," said Mike Leyba, co-executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana. "This is buying us time to figure out what the resolution is."
More on the eviction moratorium
Leyba works with Massachusetts residents facing evictions or foreclosures.
"What Massachusetts renters and homeowners need right now is stability," said Leyba. "They need assurance from their governments and from our leaders to guarantee they're not going to be put out next week, next month."
Landlord Doug Quattrochi, executive director of the trade association Mass Landlords, says there are millions of dollars in federal assistance for renters statewide to pay landlords, but the system can be complicated.
"Rental assistance is moving much too slow for landlords to provide all this housing," said Quattrochi, who rents two units of his own to tenants. "Landlords have been left out of things like the Paycheck Protection Program because we don't have W2 employees, mortgage forbearance because we don't live in our buildings mostly."
The new extension could get challenged at the United States Supreme Court. It will expire on Oct. 3.