Baker confident about helping as eviction filings pile up

Boston Statehouse

Yellow facial mask laying on top of the eviction note

BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that despite the growing number of residents facing eviction he does not see a need at this time to return to the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that was put in place early in the pandemic and expired in October.

“We have a lot of resources we can put to work at this point. A lot,” Baker said at a State House press conference.

When Baker allowed the moratorium to expire on Oct. 17, he and judiciary leaders put together a $171 million eviction diversion plan to expand rental assistance, rehousing programs and mediation efforts.

Critics worried the money was not enough, and that the diversion programs would take time to set up. Since the end of the moratorium, 2,645 eviction filing have been made by landlords in court, including 743 filings the week that ended Nov. 30.

Thousands of more cases that had been on hold have resumed, according to advocates, though the surge has not been as big as some feared. The Legislature put additional funding for rental assistance and other housing programs in the fiscal 2021 budget passed last Friday, and Baker said he could have more to say about the budget by the end of the week.

“I think from our point of view, we’re in a pretty good place to help people at this point, and have started to execute on that,” Baker said.

The legislation is still pending on Beacon Hill that would bar evictions for missed rent payments due to the pandemic, and prevent no-fault evictions and rent increases for 12 months after the governor lifts the state of emergency, which was put in place in March. 

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