“Years after real estate giants organized to ban rent control ordinances, rents in many parts of the state have spiraled far out of reach for working families.”
Homes for All Massachusetts, a “statewide formation of grassroots housing justice groups working to halt displacement, increase community control of land, and win housing justice,” will hold a virtual community press conference tomorrow “in support of rent control as lawmakers consider bills to end the statewide ban in the first legislative session of 2022.”
Information about the tomorrow’s (1/11/21) 11 a.m. Tenant Protection Act bill hearing before the housing committee of the Mass legislature here.
Check out a video of a recent two-hour discussion by housing advocates with full background on the bill here.
“Twenty-seven years after real estate giants organized to ban rent control ordinances in the Commonwealth, rents in many parts of the state have spiraled far out of reach for working families and especially for people of color,” the group stated in a media release. “Communities in Massachusetts are facing displacement due to pre-pandemic forces, and the housing crisis has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 and unemployment. Grassroots statewide coalition Homes For All Massachusetts includes members who’ve been supporting households facing eviction and displacement since the 1970s; the coalition has communicated with thousands of households during the pandemic alone, supporting those burdened with housing insecurity.”
[Read more about the war at the state level over rent control in Mass here, and about the judge who overturned Boston’s eviction moratorium here.]
Members of the coalition include: Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), Arise for Social Justice, Chinatown Community Land Trust, Chinese Progressive Association, City Life/Vida Urbana, Lynn United for Change, New England United for Justice, Right to the City Boston, and Springfield No One Leaves. More from Homes for All regarding tomorrow’s 10:30am press conference below:
Multi-generational, multilingual tenants and homeowners, from Cambridge, Lynn, Boston and across the state and supporters from community organizations and coalitions like Homes For All Massachusetts, Mass Alliance of HUD tenants, invited bill lead cosponsors, and elected officials like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu who are in support of Rent Control.
On Tuesday, January 11th, tenant leaders facing rent increases and the threat of being priced out of their neighborhoods – along with housing justice advocates, allies, and elected officials who support rent control–will gather for a COVID-safe, online community press conference on zoom, transmitted on FB live, to show support for urgently needed tenant protections and to put local options for rent control back on the table in Massachusetts. Following the press conference, Massachusetts community members will give testimony in support of “An Act Enabling Local Options for Tenant Protections,” (H.1378 / S.886) and (H.1440 / S.889) – “An Act relative to the stabilization of rents and evictions in towns and cities facing distress in the housing market”, during the legislators first hearing of 2022 scheduled for that day. Lifting the ban on rent control gives municipalities local control and the ability to address the crisis in ways that meet the unique needs of their communities.
Advocates emphasize that now more than ever it is clear that rising rents and the threat of eviction are public health concerns that rent control would help to address. In Boston, landlords filed evictions at two times the rate in neighborhoods that have experienced the highest rates of covid-19, disproportionately communities of color. Additionally, studies show that evictions lead to complex trauma and PTSD.
While the economy and the real estate market have changed dramatically in recent years, Massachusetts’ tenant protection laws have largely remained the same under pressure from the real estate lobby. Meanwhile, the cost of rent has continued to rise in cities throughout the state and country even while thousands face unemployment due to the negative impacts of COVID19 and many are still struggling to find stable jobs and struggling to stay healthy and staying with stable housing. At the same time, it has become increasingly expensive to move into a new home. Over 25,000 Massachusetts eviction notices were filed with the court since the pandemic started and the numbers of no-fault evictions have been rapidly rising since the start of 2021.