Participants took to the streets in the hope of swaying the Biden administration.
As part of the National Day of Action to Prevent Evictions, City Life/Vida Urbana organized a rally called “Housing Is The Cure!” on January 13. Protesters gathered outside of the Boston Housing Court on New Chardon Street and marched to the JFK Building. Speakers included frontline residents and faith leaders.
The housing crisis has been exacerbated by the coronavirus, leaving many who have lost their jobs unable to pay rent. According to City Life, a new study from UCLA estimates that states that allowed evictions to continue this summer led to almost 11,000 preventable pandemic-related deaths. Participants in the rally are hoping that with the new Biden administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction ban will be extended. They are asking that the federal ban meet the following provisions:
Is extended until after the end of the federal state of emergency.
Cover all evictions (including no-fault evictions, as Massachusetts’ state moratorium did).
Ban all stages of the eviction process (as Massachusetts’ state moratorium did).
Is automatic (i.e. tenants shouldn’t need to declare eligibility and defend themselves in court; Massachusetts’ moratorium was automatic).
Include a moratorium on utility shut offs.
Is enforced by the Department of Justice.
In over a dozen cities nation-wide, tenants and owners expressed these demands from the incoming administration. They are calling for a universal eviction moratorium and are also asking that real estate corporations that are granted funds for back rent commit to forgoing rent debt and refrain from hiking rents.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.