WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020
In the fifteen days since Gov. Baker declared a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak, circumstances have been rapidly changing and major developments have been occurring seemingly by the hour. One of the top concerns of my Cambridge and Somerville constituents (and Massachusetts residents in general) has been the need to protect renters and homeowners from the severe economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, I want to take a moment to update folks on where we stand in our efforts to establish a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in the Commonwealth.
Immediately following the Governor's emergency declaration, I started working with Rep. Kevin Honan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, on legislation to halt all evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the emergency. Over the course of the next three days we worked closely with House Counsel and advocates from Greater Boston Legal Services, City Life/Vida Urbana, Lawyers for Civil Rights, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and others to develop the language. The bill was filed on Friday, March 13.
The text of the bill, HD.4935, An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID19 Emergency, is available here via .pdf file.
Since that time, thanks in part to an extraordinary organizing effort and public response, some 73 state legislators have co-sponsored the bill. The full list of co-sponsors is available via this webpage.
Now this week, I'm very pleased to report that House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka have announced they intend to advance legislation to address these concerns.
Right now, House and Senate leaders are discussing the details of consensus language. As soon as we have agreement on language, I will post another update. Thank you to the Speaker, the Senate President, and all of my legislative colleagues for supporting this action to protect renters and homeowners during this unprecedented crisis. Thanks especially to the many city officials who have joined us in advocating for this legislation, along with the many activists, organizers, and members of the public who have called their legislators and the Governor to voice support for guaranteeing housing stability for the duration of the emergency and beyond.