COVID-19 Affordable Housing Updates

Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.

CHAPA is holding weekly Affordable Housing Coronavirus Response virtual meetings on Fridays at 2:30 PM EST. Please see our events calendar to register for the next meeting. Notes from previous meetings can be found below:

For the most updated information on the state's response to COVID-19, visit the Mass.Gov Coronavirus website.

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State Updates

This list contains the most recent COVID-19 state updates. For all COVID-19 related updates, please visit CHAPA's Housing News.

 

Governor Baker Files $1 Billion COVID-19 Supplemental Budget - 5/13/2020 
On May 12, Governor Baker filed a $1 billion supplemental budget (H.4707) for spending related to COVID-19. The Governor plans for the federal government to reimburse the state for the supplemental budget to cover the costs of expenses for disaster response activities. These expenses include payments for increased costs for local housing authorities and for the family and individual emergency shelter system.

 

DHCD Issues Emergency Regulations to Implement Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium - 4/27/2020
On April 24, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) issued emergency regulations and forms to implement the recently enacted statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium. The downloadable forms, that can be filled and shared online, are for tenants to complete and send to their landlords, documenting their inability to pay rent on time due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid late fees and negative credit reporting. Similar forms are available for small business tenants. For more information and links to the regulations and forms, visit: https://www.chapa.org/housing-news/dhcd-issues-emergency-regulations-to-implement-eviction-and-foreclosure-moratorium

 

Governor Baker Signs Eviction and Foreclosure Bill - 4/21/2020
On April 20, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Baker signed the eviction and foreclosure moratorium bill (H.4647) – creating some of the strongest protections for tenants and homeowners in the nation. For tenants, the law temporarily halts all stages of most evictions. For homeowners, the law temporarily stops foreclosures and requires lenders to offer mortgage forbearance for those affected by COVID-19. For more information, visit: https://www.chapa.org/housing-news/governor-baker-signs-eviction-and-foreclosure-bill.

 

Massachusetts Sets Up Regional Isolation & Recovery Sites at Hotels for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness - 4/13/2020
On April 13, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced that the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Command Center and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are setting up regional isolation and recovery sites located in hotels across the state. Currently there are sites in Pittsfield, Lexington, and Taunton with more coming on line. For more information, visit: https://www.chapa.org/housing-news/massachusetts-sets-up-regional-isolation-recovery-sites-at-hotels-for-individuals.

 

City of Boston Announces New Mortgage Relief Process to Aid Homeowners - 4/9/2020
On April 9, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced that 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston will offer at least three months of deferred mortgage payments for homeowners who contact them and demonstrate they have been financially impacted by the crisis. In addition, the lenders have committed not to charge late fees, or report non-payments to the credit bureaus. Homeowners will not be required to pay back the deferred mortgage payments in a lump sum, but will instead work with lenders on an affordable repayment plan. Learn more here: https://www.boston.gov/news/new-mortgage-relief-partnership-aid-homeowners-during-covid-19-pandemic?hootPostID=88f7615cf52adb71834c6499348a2e53

 

National Updates

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition website.

HUD-CPD Issues 2nd Round of CDBG-CARES Act Funding - 5/8/2020

On May 8, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Community Planning and Development's (CPD) issued a second round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the CARES Act. Massachusetts' State CDBG program received $26,083,361 in funding. 

Phase 3.5 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 4/24/2020

On April 24, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed a $484 billion coronavirus rescue package that delivers emergency aid to small businesses and hospitals. The bill will provide an immediate $321 billion investment in the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, $75 billion in emergency relief for hospitals and $25 billion to ramp up coronavirus testing.

Phase 3 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 3/27/2020

On March 27, 2020, the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) was passed and signed into law. The CARES Act allocates $12.4 billion in funding for housing and homelessness including:

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants
  • $4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants
  • $1.25 billion for Tenant Based Rental Assistance
  • $1 billion for Project Based Rental Assistance
  • $685 million for Public Housing Operating Costs
  • $50 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly
  • $15 million for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities

The bill also includes provisions that ban evictions and provide mortgage forbearance for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. You can find a complete summary of the bill at the link.

 

FHFA Announces Eviction Protections for Renters through Mortgage Forbearance for Multifamily Property Owners - 3/23/2020

On March 23, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a press release stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will begin offering mortgage forbearance to multifamily property owners on the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters who can’t pay their rent because of COVID-19. This move protects renters from being evicted if they’re unable to pay their rent and property owners who are unable to pay their mortgages due to the impact of the COVID-19. 

 

FHFA Suspends Evictions and Foreclosures for Evictions and Foreclosures for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages - 3/18/2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage.

 

    Phase 2 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 3/18/2020
    On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201) was passed and signed into law. This ~$100 billion funding package includes the following:    

    • Free COVID-19 Testing
    • Expanded Unemployment Insurance – Allocates $2 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.
    • Expanded Food Assistance – Allocates $1 billion to emergency food assistance programs including SNAP and WIC:
      • Emergency allotments to 450,000 SNAP households in MA includes up to the max monthly SNAP benefit amount for the household size (eg. $194 for 1 person, $355 for 2 people, etc).
      • Supplemental benefits for kids who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
      • Flexibility for WIC and the School Meals and Summer Food Service Programs. 
    • Paid Emergency Leave – Creates a new federal emergency paid leave program for those unable to work due to COVID-19. Eligible workers would receive two-thirds of their average monthly earnings for a month.
    • Paid Sick Days – Gives workers 14 says of paid sick leave available immediately. Also, reimburses small businesses for these costs.

    A complete summary of the Phase 2 legislative funding package can be found at the link.

     

    Phase 1 COVID-19 Legislative Funding Package - 3/6/2020
    On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R.6074). This $8.3 billion funding package includes the following:  

    • $3.1 billion Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services – in part to buy medical supplies. $100 million of which is for community health centers for underserved groups.
    • $950 million in grants to states and localities for public health response that's to be dispersed via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • $826 million for developing COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.
    • $300 million to purchase vaccines and treatments once they’re approved.
    • The final $1.25 billion for international activities
     

    Housing Policy Resources

    Massachusetts Resources

    Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.

    Guidance from Department of Housing & Community Development

    Guidance & Best Practices

    Federal Resources

    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
    Main CDC COVID-19 Website: 
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

    Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

    Other Federal Agencies & Guidance

     

    Non-Housing Policy Resources

    Are you looking for immediate assistance during COVID-19? Please see our Assistance During COVID-19 page.

    Boston

    City of Boston COVID-19 Information Page
    Information page from the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission on the city's COVID-19 response: https://www.boston.gov/news/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-boston

     

    Cash Assistance

    DTA Benefits

    The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offices will be closed to the public until at least April 3rd, so families and individuals who are looking to apply for benefits or follow-up on existing benefits should contact DTA by phone or via the DTA Connect app or websitehttps://www.mass.gov/alerts/covid-19-dta-updates-and-resources#undefined.

     

    Immigration

    MIRA Coalition COVID-19 Resources
    This page includes public health resources in multiple languages that can be shared with immigrant and refugee families; relevant information on immigration policy and enforcement; and other valuable resources: https://www.miracoalition.org/resources/covid19/

    Guidance for Coronavirus & Public Charge Rule for Undocumented Immigrants

    MIRA's updated resource "Public Charge’ in the Time of COVID-19", in English, Spanish and Portuguese, explaining the public charge rules and the many categories of immigrants who are not affected by them, can be found here. To use the screening tool to determine whether the pubic charge rule might affect you or your client, click here.

    Resource by MLRI and MIRA on undocumented immigrants accessing public benefits in response to COVID-19 and what it means for the Public Charge Rule - click here.

     

    Internet Resources

    HUD
    HUD’s released its “Free or Low-Cost Internet Service and Other Related Resources (Devices and Content) that can Assist HUD-Assisted Residents During the COVID-19 Crisis." This document lists national carriers that provide free or low-cost  internet service, technological devices (such as laptops), and virtual educational and learning content for students.

     

    Language Access

    Lawyers for Civil Rights
    Lawyers for Civil Rights has created a multilingual resource that addresses medical support, food insecurity, unemployment assistance, worker protection, the public charge rule and more at: http://www.lawyersforcivilrights.org/coronavirus/

     

    Municipal Government

    Massachusetts Municipal Association's Coronavirus Resources
    Because communities and municipal leaders are on the front lines in emergency situations, the following are some resources to inform local leaders and help them respond: https://www.mma.org/coronavirus-resources-for-local-government-leaders/

     

    Philanthropic

    The Boston Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund
    The Boston Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund has been established by a coalition of business, government and philanthropic partners to rapidly deploy flexible resources to organizations in Greater Boston that are working with communities that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak: https://www.tbf.org/what-we-do/special-funds/covid-19-response-fund.

    United Way of Massachusetts Bay COVID-19 Family Support Fund
    The United Way established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The United Way will mobilize its broad network of nonprofit agencies throughout the region to provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis. These agencies have a proven and long track record of working with United Way to administer flexible emergency assistance for families impacted by income disruption. One time grants of up to $2000 will be made to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs. Learn more and donate here: https://unitedwaymassbay.org/get-involved/covid-19-family-fund/.

     

    Small Businesses

    Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
    On March 15, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the creation of a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation will receive and process all applications for this fund. More information and applications can be found at: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/what-we-offer/emergency-loan-funds/covid-19-loan-fund

     

    Senior Services

    AARP of Massachusetts
    The AARP of Massachusetts has information for seniors and older residents. Visit: https://states.aarp.org/massachusetts/state-and-local-information-and-resources-on-coronavirus

     

    Veterans

    Veterans Assistance
    The VA is offering resources to veterans. To learn more, visit the VA's website.

     
     

    Take Action

    CHAPA Policy Priorities for COVID-19 Response

    As the public health crisis unfolds, even more households across incomes will face great challenges due to job losses and decreased incomes. The impacts will be hardest for households with the lowest incomes. No one should lose their home in the middle of a public health emergency. Our state’s and our country’s collective health depends on the ability for people to practice social distancing, self-isolate, or quarantine in their homes.

    In order to help stop the spread of the virus and preserve housing stability during this crisis, CHAPA requests urgent action on state policies that will:

    • Freeze nonessential evictions and foreclosures;
    • Help residents pay rent or mortgage payments in cases of financial hardship;
    • Provide landlords and owners the resources they need to maintain their properties and operations;
    • Increase the capacity of emergency shelter providers, housing authorities, and regional housing agencies; and
    • Ensure the continued development and operation of high-quality affordable housing.

    Please contact your legislators in support of the bills, priorities, and budget requests:

    You can find your legislators and their contact information here.

     

    Help Halt Evictions & Foreclosures During COVID-19 Crisis
    On April 9, a conference committee was appointed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium bills. Here is a comparison of the two bills. CHAPA has asked the conference committee to support a final bill that will provide strong protections for renters and homeowners. This would include provisions that would:

    • Establish a moratorium that lasts until at least 30 days after the COVID-19 emergency is lifted
    • A prohibition on both judgments and default judgments from being entered against tenants
    • Prohibiting the sending of a notice to quit in non-essential eviction cases
    • Directing financial institutions in Massachusetts to grant homeowners a forbearance on their mortgages 
    Please reach out to members of the conference committee to join CHAPA in advocating for a strong eviction and foreclosure moratorium! For more information, including contact information for the conferees visit: https://www.chapa.org/housing-news/massachusetts-legislature-advances-eviction-foreclosure-moratorium-bills

     

     

    Help Ensure that Congress Addresses Housing & Homelessness in the Next Federal COVID-19 Funding Package

    Following the passage of the CARES Act, Congress continues to work on additional federal resources needed to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Through the New England Housing Network, CHAPA is advocating for additional relief for housing and homelessness to address the affordable housing crisis and get the economy up and running again. Call your Senators and Representative today to ask them to include robust resources to help protect people experiencing homelessness and to allow low-income people to continue to keep roofs over their heads during and after the COVID-19 crisis. For information on our federal priorities, please read the New England Housing Network's letter to Congress.

     
    For a list of all COVID-19 related bills filed in the State Legislature, visit: https://blog.instatrac.com/2020/03/17/bills-pertaining-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/ 
     

    Good News

    As we work together to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, this section will highlight some great work being done by our affordable housing community here in Massachusetts! We hope these stories can provide hope, inspiration, or otherwise highlight some good in times when the challenges we face can seem so large.