25 May Boston Globe: Newton’s COVID-19 emergency housing relief fund to close at end of June
Source: Boston Globe
BOSTON — Newton’s COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program will come to a close at the end of June, according to the city, after administering more than $2.8 million in direct rental and mortgage assistance to local households.
As of the first week of May, the program has successfully assisted a total of 247 households, the memo said. Six households received mortgage assistance, while the others were provided rental aid.
The program was launched more than a year ago to help households in Newton struggling to make ends meet due to the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. It began as a three-month effort, but was extended in order to provide more support during the crisis, according to a memo from the city’s Planning and Development Department.
And as the crisis continued, officials knew that participating households were still struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, according to the memo.
“With the Massachusetts eviction moratorium having come to an end in October and the CDC eviction moratorium set to expire on December 31, 2020, staff knew that continued financial support to keep individuals and families safely housed through the winter and spring was of the utmost importance as we continued to do our part to keep our community safe,” the memo said.
Many of these households include people employed in the restaurant industry and gig economy pre-COVID, according to the city. These industries were hit hard when the pandemic forced many restaurants to close or scale back business, and gig economy workers also saw reductions in work.
The housing relief program is administered by Metro West Collaborative Development. The final application deadline for the program is scheduled for June 30, according to the memo, and all actively enrolled households will receive more than one month’s notice.
Officials are directing households to other assistance and support resources, including Newton’s social services division, the memo said.
Households that need assistance are being encouraged to apply for Metro Housing Boston’s Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program, and an application form is available at the organization’s website at metrohousingboston.org.
People can also call the city of Newton’s Social Services at 617-796-1420 to work with city staff on which resources may be the best fit, the memo said.