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Councilor Lederman Testifies Before MA House and Senate Joint Committee on Housing

Springfield City Councilor At-Large Jesse Lederman testified virtually on Thursday in front of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing. Councilor Lederman appeared before the Committee to testify in support of the statewide bill titled An Act to prevent Evictions and Foreclosures and Promote an Equitable Housing Recovery.

“We need the State Legislature to act swiftly to protect renters and homeowners in Springfield while making sure that landlords are made whole as well,” said Councilor Lederman, Chairman of the City Council’s COVID-19 Response Committee, “The funds are there, but more time is needed to ensure those funds get to where they belong. Over 1,000 evictions have been filed in Springfield – the system is not equipped to handle that level of displacement.”

Councilor Lederman also testified regarding passage of his July resolution in support of the bill at the Springfield City Council. Of the Councilors present and voting, the vote was unanimous in support of the bill. He praised the work of local organizations including WayFinders, Springfield No One Leaves, and Arise for Social Justice for their work supporting residents in need.

A limited county-by-county CDC Eviction Moratorium is in place, however that moratorium is dependent upon COVID case numbers and does not protect homeowners.

“The limited moratorium is an incomplete and temporary measure, providing no protections for homeowners and no long term solutions to the challenges residents are facing,” said Councilor Lederman.

The statewide legislation would reinstate a pause on foreclosures and require forbearance for homeowners based on federal policies, pause no-fault evictions during the state of emergency and recovery period, require landlords to pursue and cooperate with rental assistance programs before pursuing eviction, protect the most vulnerable tenants from forced removal for COVID-19 debts, and require the state to adopt equitable principles, flexibility, and simplification in the distribution of rental assistance funds.

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