We are juniors at Amherst Regional High School, and are studying homelessness in Tom Fricke’s Global History class. We are interested in measures to protect people who are homeless (or at risk of losing their homes) due to COVID-19-related unemployment. We would like to see Governor Baker take steps to assure that evictions are put on hold throughout the pandemic, until COVID-19 is contained and the state experiences economic recovery.
A moratorium on evictions nationally, imposed by the Centers for Disease Control, was supposed to end Jan. 31. It is now extended to at least March 31 at the request of President Joe Biden.
This extension is good news. However, given the large number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts and related high unemployment here, we think the need for eviction protection will likely continue for many more months. Massachusetts should have its own policy.
In our research, we determined that Governor Baker has the ability to take emergency action to prevent homelessness during the pandemic. A statewide moratorium on evictions would be incredibly effective in ensuring that families at risk due to COVID-19 don’t end up without a place to live.
If a moratorium isn’t passed, many renters could be evicted. In these times, homelessness is even more challenging than under ordinary circumstances, and is potentially deadly due to the stress on support systems. Homeless shelters are under an extra burden, and sheltering people safely is more complicated.
We hope that residents of Amherst will help ensure a Massachusetts eviction moratorium, by writing to Governor Baker, and asking him to guarantee that our families and neighbors are not left in the cold when the CDC moratorium ends. To contact the governor, please go to: https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office
Jackson Lingo, Joseph Barboza, and Hannah Jamate
Jackson Lingo, Joseph Barboza, and Hannah Jamate are students at Amherst Regional High School