Letter: We call upon the Governor, Senate, and House to pass a clear moratorium on evictions and foreclosures NOW and support renters and homeowners across the Commonwealth during this global COVID-19 pandemic.
From Noel: "The Boston Community Health Initiative is a project that addresses healthcare inequality. Our goal is to seek out patients who have gotten compromised care, help them gain access to quality care, and empower them to fight back. We understand that the healthcare industry is a for-profit model that is not meant to serve those who need it most; it actively makes money off of people being sick. These disparities are present disproportionately in communities of color. In Boston, these communities are Dorchester, Roxbury, and East Boston. We empower patients to fight for the quality care they deserve, and through that, we are working to create an equitable healthcare system Boston!
Along with City Life, we’re fighting the biggest forms of oppression that Boston faces: gentrification of housing, and gentrification of healthcare access. The two work together to keep racism, ableism, and sexism alive. They keep residents from having access to the human rights of housing and health. It often presents as tenant health issues that are caused or worsened by housing conditions. We’re standing with you to say NO to that! We work directly with community residents to identify their health needs and the extent to which they’re currently being unmet by existing institutions, laws, and policies.
BCHI is currently working with Covid-19 mutual aid networks to connect those that they serve with healthcare support. We are helping people deal with barriers that arise with their healthcare providers, both in seeking care during the pandemic and with their preexisting needs."
If you know anyone who needs access to affordable medical care or medical advocacy, reach out to Noel Sanders at email@example.com!
1. CALL OUR HOTLINE.
We have launched an emergency hotline for people facing eviction during the public health crisis. Please CALL US immediately if you're afraid you'll get evicted soon.
2. WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR LANDLORD OR BANK.
Use these template letters to write a letter directly to your landlord, if you're a renter, or your bank, if you're a homeowner. Writing a letter will help you create the best outcome. When you send the letter, make sure to copy us on the email by CC'ing firstname.lastname@example.org. That way, we can make sure to continue to support you.
DOWNLOAD a template for a letter you can use HERE.
3. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Most evictions in Massachusetts are postponed to after 4/21/2020.
A judge has postponed most eviction cases in Massachusetts for a few weeks. If you're facing eviction, please read about how this could affect your case in the fact-sheet below created by our partners at Greater Boston Legal Services.
Mutual Aid Links:
Massachusetts Mutual Aid by Mass. Jobs with Justice: https://www.massjwj.net/news/2020/3/17/cover-19-mutual-aid-networks
Mutual Aid for Undocumented Folks: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/18p9OSlLpSYanIoUC-gEbhVbRMYVUfw4wyrixa9ekGdc/htmlview?sle=true
Information Compiled by AARW: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-x6vOZKVsla5H363mtdgcyivvLmcx7-f2s6l-O_ba8A/edit
Fondos de ayuda de emergencia: https://docs.google.com/document/d/173JFwij9WUPuPHIBGKgk8lauYLPIkXZtkIeUZg6U_GI/edit?usp=sharing
BUT our movement for housing justice, dignity and care for all won't stop! We're moving our weekly meetings online, starting this week. We won't meet in person at all for our our weekly Tuesday night meetings in Jamaica Plain, nor our Wednesday night meetings in East Boston, until the crisis is over. But please do join our meetings online - FIND OUT HOW TO ATTEND OUR ONLINE MEETINGS HERE: clvu.org/virtualmeetings
Our organization is continuing to work hard for mutual aid and other forms of social and economic justice in this crisis. We're turning our attention to the many ways that we can support each other right now.
IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH A DISPLACEMENT EMERGENCY: CALL OUR HOTLINE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC at (617) 934-5006.
Every week, between 80-125 people from all walks of life, including many who are facing displacement, come to City Life meetings in Jamaica Plain and East Boston to build a vibrant local movement for housing justice. Our culture is one of deep relationship and connection to each other, and we hold that very dearly. We are committed to protecting both this crucial movement space as well as the health and wellness of the hundreds of people who walk through our doors.Read more
Today, we launched a petition for a state-wide moratorium on evictions in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Massachusetts residents, please sign the petition and share! No one should have to choose between saving their home and being exposed to #COVID19, especially folks with the least resources. And no one should have to lose their home due to the pandemic's impact on their income. #HealthNotEvictions
Public statement by City Life/Vida Urbana on COVID-19 and evictions: Shut down the eviction court during the coronavirus crisis.
Trips are cancelled. University classes are going online. Conferences and conventions are postponed. All of this is due to the coronavirus, which is clearly a real public health emergency. One obvious place not mentioned which should close down is the housing court. It is one of the worst places to leave open if you want to prevent a spreading infection. More specifically, all evictions except those by owner-occupants should be stayed.
1. There are hundreds of people squeezed into a small space without adequate ventilation.
2. Even a person who is ill will feel that they must go to Housing Court. Otherwise they will be defaulted and forcibly removed from their home. In other words, you can’t “self-quarantine” when you’re sick.
3. Places where people go to get help with displacement will become much harder to reach during the crisis. Hundreds of people get legal and social support each week in an attempt to prevent displacement. But legal systems will be compromised during the crisis. Access to back rent help and mass informational meetings may have to be postponed or curtailed.
4. The stress of eviction court, the stress of threatened displacement will contribute directly to both contracting an illness such as the coronavirus and to how severely it affects you if you do contract the illness.
5. Losing your home will disrupt a family’s ability to secure heath care and necessary medicines, thus adversely affecting an individual family and encouraging the spread of the virus. Therefore, we demand, “Close down the eviction court at the Eastern Housing Court, except for evictions by owner occupants, until the coronavirus crisis is past.”
Cerrar el tribunal de desalojo durante la crisis del coronavirus.
Los viajes están cancelados. Las clases universitarias son por internet. Se posponen las conferencias y convenciones. Todo esto se debe al coronavirus, que es claramente una verdadera emergencia de salud pública. Un lugar obvio no mencionado que debería cerrar es el tribunal de vivienda. Ese es uno de los peores lugares abiertos al público si se desea prevenir la propagación de una infección. Más exactamente, se deben suspender todos los desalojos, excepto los de los ocupantes propietarios.
1. Hay cientos de personas aglomeradas en un espacio pequeño sin ventilación adecuada.
2. Incluso si una persona enferma sentirá que tiene que ir al Tribunal de la Vivienda. De lo contrario, perderán por incumplimiento y serán expulsados de sus hogares. En otras palabras, no pueden "estar en cuarentena" aunque estén enfermos.
3. Los lugares a donde las personas acuden por ayuda con el desplazamiento serán mucho más difíciles de accesar durante la crisis. Cientos de personas obtienen apoyo legal y social cada semana en un intento por evitar el desplazamiento. Pero los sistemas legales se verán comprometidos durante la crisis. El acceso a la ayuda de alquiler atrasado y las reuniones informativas masivas pueden tener que posponerse o cancelarse.
4. El estrés del tribunal de desalojo, el estrés del desplazamiento amenazado contribuirá directamente a contraer una enfermedad como el coronavirus y a la gravedad de esa enfermedad si se contrae.
5. La pérdida del hogar afectará la capacidad de las familias de asegurar la atención médica y los medicamentos necesarios, lo que afectará negativamente a esa familia y fomentará la propagación del virus. Por lo tanto, exigimos: "Cerrar el tribunal de desalojo en el 'Eastern Housing Court', a excepción de los desalojos por parte de los ocupantes propietarios, hasta que la crisis del coronavirus haya pasado".
In January, we held our 5th mass meeting for Section 8 tenants so that we can all learn our rights and fight for our homes! We've been meeting in different zip codes around the Boston. In 2019, we gathered with Section 8 residents in Mattapan, Roslindale, Dorchester and Roxbury, and in January, 2020, we met with Hyde Park residents. This formation is a kind of city-wide tenant association for Sec. 8 tenants, and it represents our historic collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority and Metro Housing.
In recent years, we've seen an uptick in Section 8 tenants struggling with rent hikes above the payment standard because there is no rent control in Boston, not even for Section 8 voucher holders. We're organizing so that we can all keep our homes in the face of real estate greed!
If you are a Section 8 tenant that wants to learn how to stay in your home, please contact Judy Burnette (email@example.com), Gabrielle René (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Steve Meacham (email@example.com).
Grandmothers win fight for their homes after landlord tried to hike rents by $700. Now they're advocating for rent control.
Ms. Ruby James Saucer and Ms. Michelle Ewing are grandmothers who've made a home at 22 Rexford St. for years. Ms. Saucer moved there at the start of the decade after being displaced from her last home during the foreclosure crisis. Both of the women are very involved in their neighborhood - recently, Ms. Saucer became a councilmember of the Mattapan Neighborhood Council.
When Stamatos and Cohen notified the grandmothers of the astronomical rent hike, they marched over to City Life/Vida Urbana for support. They knew they were completely unable to stay in their homes at the raised rent; both live on limited, fixed incomes. The very real prospect of homelessness hung over their heads. So, they committed to fight the increase.
With legal help from Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and public actions alongside dozens of Boston supporters, the grandmothers fought the rent hikes in Boston Housing Court over the course of 17 months and multiple housing court appearances. They also spoke out publicly about their story: they appeared on Boston 25 News and BNN, and in September of 2019 they led a march to Cohen's house in Jamaica Plain.
Ms. Ewing and Ms. Saucer finally brought Cohen and Stamatos to the negotiating table. In November 2019, Ms. Ewing won a 3-year lease with moderate rent increases, and in January 2020, Ms. Saucer also won a 3-year lease at an affordable rent. Both will remain in their homes.
The grandmothers have also joined the campaign to lift the state-wide ban on rent control. In October of 2019, they spoke at a rally in front of the State House about how rent control would shield people like them from outrageous rent increases and displacement.
The Tenant Protection Act (H.3924) is a bill that would lift the 25-year-old ban on rent control in the state of Massachusetts (as well as allow cities and town to enact other crucial protections from displacement). On Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, we flooded the Massachusetts State House for hearing and rally in support of this transformative bill.
Now, we're asking YOU to take moment TODAY to call your State representative and senator - ask them to support the Tenant Protection Act. Find instructions on how to call your legislators here: facebook.com/events/464872310870596.
The committee reviewing the bill is set to vote on it on Wednesday, February 5th. That's why it's helpful for you to call now! Please make sure to check out the instructions and report that you've called. THANK YOU! #LiftTheBanMA