Over 300 people live streamed Superior Court Judge Paul Wilson's hearing on the eviction moratorium last Thursday (Matorin et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts). The ban was enacted by the legislature on April 17, 2020 under its emergency powers to protect the health of citizens of the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The suit was brought by two landlords who seek an end to the ban, claiming infringement of their right to access to the courts, a violation of separation of powers, and a taking of property.
Thank you to Attorney Joseph Michalakes of Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) for highlighting that during the moratorium, over $60 million in funding from RAFT, ERMA, and ERA (local emergency rental fund programs) are now available to preserve tenancies and stabilize properties, funding both sides recognize as critical. A companion case will be argued in United States District Court in Boston in mid-August.
Multiple studies show that evictions lead to housing instability and cause an increase in overcrowded housing and homelessness which exacerbate the public health and economic crises, both with disproportionate impact on communities of color.
CHAPA, along with Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) and Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA), filed an amicus brief in support of the Commonwealth to illustrate the central role of housing stability in stemming the viral spread. Our brief together with statements of experts, Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director of the Pine Street Inn, Rafael Mares, Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers and Megan Sandel, MD/MPH, Co-Lead Principal Investigator, Boston Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, can be found at CHAPA/MACDC/MPHA Amicus Filing.