Boston Mayor Kim Janey on Tuesday announced $50 million in fresh funding will be dedicated to the city's Rental Relief Fund in a bid to help renters remain in their homes and help landlords who are struggling.
According to the city, the new funding aims to help residents pay their rent and avoid eviction as well as utility bills and moving costs, including the first and last month’s rent and security deposit. Some $3 million of the funds are earmarked for Boston Housing Authority public housing tenants.
In a press conference, Janey said the vast majority of the funds are federal dollars, according to city officials.
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"We encourage tenants and landlords to communicate and work together during this challenging time," Janey said. "For those tenants who are not able to reach an agreement with their landlords, this money can help them make a move funds will be available for certain moving costs, as well as first and last month's deposits."
Distributed in amounts of up to $15,000, the funds will "make a big impact," Janey said, by helping tenants who "otherwise wouldn't be able to pay their rent."
The funds can be used for rental assistance for up to 12 months and can cover past, current and future rent.
The new funding will help families pay for utilities, including internet access, which Janey noted has been "crucial" during the pandemic.
According to the city, to qualify for assistance, tenants must:
• Earn less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI) or $96,250 for a family of four,
• Be financially impacted by COVID-19,
• Be a renter in Boston,
• Certify they do not receive a rental subsidy or have funds to meet their needs, and
• Not be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student.
Under the program, total financial assistance may not exceed $15,000 in a 12-month period. Those who have previously applied or received rental assistance in the past can reapply for the funding.