Tenants and homeowners at risk of eviction and foreclosure rallied on Boston Common Sunday afternoon to press state lawmakers to take action to prevent what they describe as a looming statewide eviction crisis.
The rally called for passage of a comprehensive eviction prevention measure intended to help stabilize renters, homeowners, and small landlords for a year as Massachusetts weathers the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Many of them haven’t been able to work. I know folks who have come to our offices or called us — they’re crying because they’re not the type of people who don’t want to pay rent,” said organizer Gabrielle Rene.
The group "City Life Vida Urbana" called on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for help.
“We’re also calling on Governor Baker to extend the current eviction and foreclosure moratorium,” State Rep. Mike Connolly said.
But Baker says he won't do that.
The other option is to pass a bill that would put all evictions on hold for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency, however, that measure is still stuck in committee.
“This pandemic has hit hard, and a lot of people are hurting,” organizer Queen Wornum said.
Sonya Leak, from Dorchester, says she lost her family home to foreclosure two years ago and now lives on the streets.
"No! It’s not okay! It’s not!” she said. "My mother fought really hard to get that. There’s four generations who was raised in that house.”
Baker has said that he favors working with the housing courts to help protect renters.
Sunday's event was part of a series of actions across the commonwealth in support of the Guaranteed Housing Stability bill leading up to the expiration of Massachusetts' eviction and foreclosure moratorium, which is set to end on Oct. 17.
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The Homes For All Massachusetts coalition is also planning a march to Baker's house in Swampscott on Wednesday.
Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh last week announced a "housing stability pledge" that he said aims to prevent evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic once the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures ends.