BOSTON (CBS) – Kevin Barnwell feels like he’s living on borrowed time in the Mattapan apartment he’s rented for nine years. His landlord, he says, has been trying to evict him and he worries he’ll be homeless. “People like myself need help, especially good people trying to be productive members of society,” said Barnwell.
He’s been protected by an eviction moratorium, put in place in the midst of the pandemic that is now set to expire on Saturday. Laid off from his job, rent payments that he made were a struggle, and he has few options. “Just trying to buy time,” he said. “Time is ticking on me.”
Tenants rights activists with City Life/Urbana Vida rallied in Boston saying time is ticking on as many as 100,000 people they believe could face eviction or foreclosure. They marched their way to the State House where Governor Charlie Baker has offered $112 million in funding assistance and help in housing courts.
“Our Governor has to protect us and the community. We didn’t ask for his pandemic,” said activist Francis Amador who says she worries about eviction herself.
But landlord Mitchell Matorin, who owns a triple decker in Worcester, says there is another side to the issue. He says landlords are being vilified when many are trying to help. He faces thousands in back rent that hasn’t been paid, one of many small landlords, he says with bills piling up. “Nobody wants to kick anybody out. We need to work together to get paid. I’m not fixated on whether rent comes the first of the month, I’ll work with a tenant to create a schedule that works for them,” Matorin said.
The eviction moratorium was already extended from mid-August to mid-October and Governor Baker said this week that another extension is not the right way to address housing insecurity concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.