CHAPA's Statement on the Federal Eviction Moratorium

The CDC Federal Eviction Moratorium ended on Thursday, August 26, 2021. However, the end of the moratorium does not mean you will be immediately evicted if you are behind on rent. Only a court can order someone to leave their home.

In Massachusetts, if you have a pending application for emergency rental assistance, your eviction case can be paused. If you or someone you know is having trouble paying rent, financial assistance is available. Apply for rental assistance today.

For legal help, visit the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project.

For information on community mediation, visit www.resolutionma.org.

You can also call 2-1-1 for referrals available in multiple languages.
 


CHAPA is disappointed by the Supreme Court decision to end the federal eviction moratorium. The federal moratorium kept tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents — seniors, families with children, and others — stably housed and more protected against COVID-19.

Without this moratorium, too many will risk losing their homes, especially in communities of color, as virus transmission rates rise and the Delta variant threatens the health and safety of every community. More evictions will increase the spread of the virus, burden our health care systems, and put children at risk as they prepare to go back to school.

With almost $525 million in emergency rental assistance still available, we must ensure every household has access to the resources they need to avoid eviction and stay in their homes. Renters should apply for all available assistance as quickly as possible. Landlords and property owners should work proactively with residents to help them access these resources. Additionally, we need to continue to support agencies administering emergency rental assistance and continue to improve the outreach, application, and distribution processes to ensure every resident who needs help receives assistance.

The trauma of an eviction lasts well beyond the pandemic, driving too many deeper into poverty, making it harder to find a home in the future, and hurting the next generation’s opportunity to thrive. We must enact renter protections like right to counsel and eviction records sealing to preserve residents’ short- and long-term housing stability. We must also expand rental voucher programs and create more permanently affordable homes across the Commonwealth.

CHAPA supports the following immediate actions to prevent evictions and distribute emergency rental assistance as quickly as possible.
 

Immediate Federal Actions
CHAPA supports the National Low Income Housing Coalition in its call for the Biden Administration to take every action to protect renters immediately. This call includes implementing an eviction moratorium for renters living in all federally assisted properties by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Treasury Department should also continue eliminating barriers to get emergency rental assistance out to households in need more quickly.

Congress should also enact long-term solutions to address our affordable housing challenges in the infrastructure and economic recovery packages, including expanding rental assistance to all eligible households.
 

Immediate State Actions
Massachusetts should immediately:

  1. Enforce state eviction protections. The surging Delta variant and additional time needed for renters to apply and be approved for emergency rental assistance demand that all existing state eviction protections are enforced. This includes a state law requiring eviction cases to be delayed if the resident has a pending application for emergency rental assistance.
     
  2. Quickly distribute emergency rental assistance. To date, Massachusetts has distributed nearly $225 million of the over $750 million in emergency rental assistance provided by the state and federal government. While significant progress has been made in distributing aid, we must get funds out even faster.
     
  3. Provide funding for community-based organizations. The state should immediately provide $5 million directly to those local community-based organizations working on the ground in disproportionately impacted communities to help residents learn about and apply for all available resources, including emergency rental assistance and legal aid.
     
  4. Enact additional renter protections. Other measures, such as right to counsel and eviction records sealing, can help protect renters against evictions and their long-term impacts on housing stability.

With the end of the moratorium, more eviction cases will be filed. To improve access to emergency rental assistance, we must immediately:

  1. Reduce documentation requirements. Per Treasury guidance, all emergency rental assistance programs should use self-attestations to satisfy eligibility requirements.
     
  2. Streamline the application process. The emergency rental assistance application process should continue to be streamlined, including launching a more user-friendly, central application as soon as possible and improving language access. These changes will help renters submit complete applications and speed up approvals and distribution of emergency rental assistance to residents and landlords.  
     
  3. Partner with local community-based organizations. Emergency rental assistance programs should partner with local community-based organizations to conduct outreach and engagement and provide housing navigation and application support to help distribute emergency rental assistance funds more quickly.