BOSTON (CBS) – A new extension for a federal moratorium on evictions will now allow states more time to distribute more than $47 billion in rental assistance for the next 60 days, hoping to help tenants who have fallen behind on their rent during the pandemic.
But Massachusetts lawmakers say the extension puts a band-aid on a long-term problem.READ MORE: Bob Dylan Coming To Boston For One Show In November
“The main message I would give to people is that, this is temporary. It’s only until October or until cases go down in their county,” said State Senator Pat Jehlen.
Housing advocates are currently calling for the immediate passage of the COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill.
“It creates an actual diversion from eviction. So it requires tenants and landlords to work together to access rental assistance that we now have,” said Attorney Andrea Park of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.
Although advocates say the new federal extension will still buy people more time to get assistance from the state.READ MORE: Dozens Of Massachusetts State Police Troopers Resigning Over COVID Vaccine Mandate, Union Says
“If you need rental assistance, if you need mortgage help, call your local administrator agency that is often a housing agency, that maybe does home base. And if you don’t know who that is, call 211,” said Park.
Springfield native Rose Webster-Smith says she fought a five-year eviction battle with her landlord.
“People don’t understand the mental health toll that facing an eviction puts people through,” said Webster-Smith.
And now, she dedicates her time informing others about housing assistance.
“They should absolutely call their community organizations. Nine out of 10 times, if they don’t do housing, they know who does do housing,” said Webster-Smith.MORE NEWS: Markey, Trahan Call On Facebook To 'Completely Abandon' Instagram For Kids Following Pause
The new federal order will last until October 3. Housing advocates say they hope lawmakers in Massachusetts will pass the COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill before then.