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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

波士頓市公屋暫停驅逐展延至3月1日

(Boston Orange 編譯)波士頓市長馬丁華殊(Martin J. Walsh)和波士房屋局(BHA)局長Kate Bennett(29)日聯袂宣佈,暫停非必要的驅逐公屋居民的行政命令效期,將展延至31日。

        要求暫停刑事罪活動以外的所有非必要驅逐的驅逐訴訟程序。

        從新型冠狀病毒(COVID-19)大流行開始,波士頓市及波士頓房屋局就快速採取行動保護屋主及租客,並提供資源幫助居民留住她們的家。三月時,波士頓房屋局和波士頓公校系統宣佈了新的合作計畫,要在明年內為最多1000個面對流離失所危險的公校學生家庭,安置住家。

         在波士頓市長支持並推廣住宅穩定的措施中,波士頓市已經由租金救濟基金(Rental Relief Fund)撥款約500萬元幫助了1400個無力交租的家庭。波士頓市也開始執行住宅穩定通知法(Housing Stability Notification Act),規定房東提供租客避免驅逐的資源。目前已有30名房東簽字承諾,支持這一行動,其中包括波士頓是最大的物業主。另有17家銀行或貸款承辦人同意展延繳款三個月。

             波士頓市也採取步驟加強服務屋主,以及許多小房東,幫助他們履行財務義務,做重要的維修,並留在他們的家中。波士頓居家中心(BHC)已和波士頓市的稅/產權(Tax/Title division)部門合作,在發稅表給8000多名欠繳物業稅的屋主時,附帶了多種語言印製的夾頁,讓他們知道市府可提供的援助。波士頓居家中心也發出多語通知給取消貸款贖回權頻率高地區的1萬名屋主,通知他們可經由預防取消貸款贖回權及干預服務可獲得援助。

MAYOR WALSH, BOSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY EXTENDS MORATORIUM FOR NONESSENTIAL PUBLIC HOUSING EVICTIONS THROUGH END OF FEBRUARY 2021

Policy addresses continued need for housing stability during pandemic & reduces public health risks

 

BOSTON - Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Administrator of the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Kate Bennett today announced an extension on the moratorium on nonessential evictions for BHA public housing residents until March 1, 2021. The moratorium offers housing stability to BHA's public housing residents and reduces coronavirus risks associated with the processing of its nonessential eviction cases. Nonessential evictions include all eviction proceedings except for those related to criminal activity, and those that are necessary to protect the health and safety of BHA residents, employees, and others. 

"It's been a difficult year, with a dueling public health and economic crisis that has hit our communities hard," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "This moratorium continues to serve the best interests of both our residents who struggle to make ends meet and of our city as a whole, as we fight to maintain the health and safety of our city."

The Boston Housing Authority was the first major housing provider in Boston to implement a moratorium on non-essential evictions in March 2020. Its previous extension was set to expire at the end of 2020. 

"A safe, stable home is the best protection our residents have in battling coronavirus, and it is critical that we take the steps we can to keep our residents safely housed through this pandemic," said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. "The vaccine is on its way, and there's cause for optimism going into 2021, but now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. There were reasons we put this moratorium in place, and those reasons are still with us."

"This moratorium has given public housing residents some extra peace of mind at a time when many families are struggling," said Matilda Drayton, President of the Alice Taylor Tenant Task Force. "BHA has been a strong partner for residents this year as we have worked together to keep our families and communities safe."

Any BHA program participant who is unable to pay current rent during the pandemic should notify their housing manager or landlord through text, email or printed letter and establish a plan for repayment. Although there is an eviction moratorium currently in place for public housing, it is temporary, and tenants are still required to perform their contractual obligation to pay their rent.

BHA program participants facing a financial hardship must reach out to BHA to re-certify their income and reduce their monthly payments. Statewide financial assistance for rent is available through RAFT funding.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston and the BHA have taken swift action to protect homeowners and renters from eviction, and have made resources available to help residents stay in their homes. In March, BHA and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced a new partnership to house up to 1,000 families with BPS students at risk of displacement and experiencing homelessness over the next year. 

Building on the Mayor's support of promoting housing stability, the City has also made $5 million available to almost 1,400 households in Boston through the Rental Relief Fund to assist tenants who were unable to make their rental payments. The City has also enacted the Housing Stability Notification Act which requires landlords to provide information to tenants on resources available to help avoid evictions. The Landlord Pledge was created during this time to encourage landlords to work with their tenants on payment plans and strategies to keep tenants in their homes. To date more than 30 landlords have signed it including some of the largest property owners in the City. 

In addition, the City has contracted with Greater Boston Legal Services to add additional attorneys to assist tenants facing eviction. The Office of Housing Stability (OHS) has expanded the Housing Court Navigator Program that assists tenants who are in Housing Court and need financial, legal or other assistance.

This effort supplements the City of Boston's work in partnering with banks and mortgage lenders. Currently, 17 banks and mortgage lenders have signed on to a pledge, issued by the Mayor, which provides homeowners with at least a three month loan deferment from lenders.

The City has also taken steps to enhance services to help homeowners, many of whom are small landlords, to meet their own financial obligations, make critical repairs, and stay in their homes. The Boston Home Center (BHC) has partnered with the City of Boston's Tax/Title division to send multi-lingual inserts in tax bills to more than 8,000 homeowners who are past due in property taxes to let them know that help is available from the City. The Boston Home Center also sent multi-lingual notices to 10,000 homeowners, in neighborhoods with traditionally high foreclosure rates, informing them of assistance available through  Foreclosure Prevention and Intervention services.

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