By Cary Shuman and Seth Daniel
As a result of the efforts of Mayor Brian Arrigo and well-executed rental assistance and mortgage assistance programs through a partnership with the Metro Housing agency, Revere had fewer evictions than other communities in the state during the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020.
It’s a piece of good news in what has been a huge worry for elected officials and advocates over the past several months, with many worrying that joblessness as a result of the pandemic could lead to massive numbers of people without homes. So far, that hasn’t come true in the official stats, to relief of everyone.
In Housing Court, to begin an eviction process one must file a Summary Process Eviction for non-payment of rent. It is a standard process for most landlords and tenants, but the process has frozen until last fall when Housing Court opened back up for evictions in October.
Worcester led the state with 874 filings as of Jan. 1 for all of 2020. Springfield had 711. Fall River had 604 and Brockton had 315. Lynn had 286. All were well above Revere’s numbers (154). Chelsea had 129.
Mayor Brian Arrigo attributed the lower number of eviction filings to “a rental assistance program and a mortgage assistance program that’s been really helpful.”
Arrigo has coordinated the administration’s efforts on rental assistance with Valentina Moreno, the city’s housing stability officer.
“She has done amazing work in terms of getting residents and tenants connected with our program,” lauded Arrigo. “That rental assistance program was done as a partnership with Metro Housing and we’ve worked with them to be able to provide assistance to residents. The way that assistance works is that the rent goes directly to the landlord.
“Essentially, the landlord is forgiving the rent because we’re paying it on the tenants’ behalf, and the deal is that if the landlord takes that, they cannot evict that tenant,” explained Arrigo.
Arrigo said people on all sides of the issue appear to be pleased with the results.
“It’s worked out really well,” added Arrigo. “The landlords are happy because they’re getting rent. People who are paying rent are happy because their rent is getting paid. And we’re happy because people aren’t getting evicted.”