04 Jun Boston Herald: Walsh adding $5M to Boston coronavirus rental relief fund
Source: Boston Herald
Walsh adding $5M to Boston coronavirus rental relief fund
The city of Boston is putting $5 million more into a rental relief fund as the massive economic hit of the coronavirus pandemic drags on.
Mayor Martin Walsh announced the new influx — nearly double the original $3 million chunk of money set aside for the fund — in a news release, saying applications will open Friday for Boston residents.
“During this challenging time, it is important that we leverage all resources available to ensure the health and safety of our residents, and to keep them stably housed during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” Walsh said in a statement. “We know that many Bostonians are struggling, and we know the need for assistance with housing payments remains, which is why we are proud to make available this additional funding for households who otherwise would be unable to make their rent payments.”
Walsh put $3 million into the newly created rental assistance fund in April, and quickly received more applications than those funds money could cover.
The city has been working with Metro Housing Boston, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and Project Hope to process the 1,600 applications received in the first round. So far, the city has sent over $680,000 in assistance to 210 households in 17 different neighborhoods to cover rent for April and May, as the administration and its partners continue to work through the applications.
The city says the deadline to complete the initial pre-screening application is June 19, and applications will be available in seven languages on boston.gov/rentalrelief.
The cash goes directly to landlords to cover rent.
Walsh’s administration says the amount of assistance renters receive is determined by analyzing their income sources, including the federal COVID-19 federal relief payments people may have received. To qualify for financial assistance from this fund, Bostonians’ income must be at or under $72,520 — 80% of the area median income of $90,650 for a family of four.
Preference will continue to be given to people who aren’t eligible for expanded unemployment benefits. Payouts to any one household are capped at $4,000 for the year.
Foreclosures and evictions still are still barred under state and federal rules, but there’s no moratorium on rent collection, for which some have advocated.