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Help is available for those facing eviction due to pandemic-related factors

By Senior Scope, Coastline Elderly

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation will manage a new COVID Eviction Legal Help Project to provide urgently needed legal assistance in pandemic-related eviction cases.

The project will expand the capacity of existing legal aid organizations to provide essential help to income-eligible tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19 and to landlords who are income-eligible owner-occupants of two- and three-family homes.

MLAC will oversee the delivery of services through contracts with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and six regional legal aid organizations across the state: Community Legal Aid, De Novo, Greater Boston Legal Services, Northeast Legal Aid, and South Coastal Counties Legal Services.

The program is part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Eviction Diversion Initiative, to support tenants and landlords facing financial challenges caused by the pandemic.

The goal of this initiative is to keep tenants safely in their homes and to support the ongoing expenses of landlords after the Commonwealth’s pause of evictions and foreclosures expired on Oct. 17.

The COVID Eviction Legal Help Project will provide referrals, legal information, assistance, and legal representation in all sittings of the Massachusetts Housing Court, including the lawyer for the day program, to preserve or achieve housing stability. When possible, it will also provide legal assistance in District Courts with high-volume summary process caseloads and to prevent the termination of subsidies prior to court to avert eviction.

MLAC will partner with Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to develop two initiatives.

For more info, visit South Coastal Counties Legal Services provides free legal services to eligible clients. SCCLS has offices in New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton, and Hyannis. Their intake line is 800-244-9023.

(Excerpted with permission from Coastline Elderly’s Senior Scope December 2020 issue. For the full article, visit Coastline’s website and/or the December issue of Senior Scope.)

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