BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has unveiled a new $171 million initiative that he said will help tenants and landlords cope with the fiscal challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Republican governor said in a statement Monday that the goal of the initiative is to keep tenants in their homes and ease the ongoing expenses of landlords once the state’s pause on evictions and foreclosures expires on Saturday.
About $100 million will go to expand the capacity of the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program to provide relief to renters and landlords struggling because of the pandemic. Another $49 million will go to rapid rehousing programs for tenants who are evicted and at risk of homelessness.
Other funds will help provide tenants and landlords with legal services during the eviction process and support mediation programs to help tenants and landlords resolve cases outside of court.
Landlords have called the pandemic eviction ban unconstitutional, arguing that it restricted their free speech and their ability to acquire compensation for unlawful land taking. Meanwhile, housing advocates have called for passage of a comprehensive eviction prevention measure intended to help stabilize renters, homeowners and small landlords for a year.
When the state moratorium expires Saturday, a moratorium established by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will take effect in Massachusetts and prevent evictions through December for qualified tenants.