- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Provides Funding for Technology to Help Tenants Access Remote Eviction Hearings
BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has provided funding to community centers in cities hit hard by the state’s eviction crisis to help tenants remotely access their court hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic with internet and video-enabled devices.
AG Healey’s Eviction Technology Access Grant Program has provided a total of $10,000 ($2,500 each) to four organizations – Centro de Apoyo Familiar in Lawrence, Eliot Community Human Services in Everett, the Lynn YMCA, and The United Way of Greater Plymouth County’s Family Center at Community Connections in Brockton – for the purchase of internet and video-enabled devices, such as tablets, chrome books, and other computers, to help tenants at risk of losing their homes remotely access their eviction-related hearing and mediation services. The funding comes at a time when the federal eviction moratorium is expected to expire in March 31 and communities are looking to support struggling tenants from the eviction crisis.
“As we work toward recovering from the pandemic, we need to continue to do everything we can to help keep families from going homeless,” AG Healey said. “Our goal with this grant program is to help tenants who are at risk of losing their homes and may not have access to technology to advocate for themselves in court and safely participate in hearings.”
Throughout the pandemic, AG Healey’s Office has been working to ensure that tenants have the resources they need to stay safe in their homes. She successfully advocated to extend the state’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium in July, called for an additional extension in October, and urged the Administration to prioritize the hiring and training of additional legal counsel and mediators to streamline rental assistance applications. Following the expiration of the state moratorium in October, the AG’s Office has been working with Local Consumer Programs funded by the office and located throughout the state to help tenants and landlords apply for rental assistance.
Tenants looking to access the technology can make appointments through one of the four organizations. Use of the technology is offered free of charge.
The Family Center is providing computer access for eviction hearings at 1367 Main St. in Brockton. The organization encourages those interested in accessing technology for their eviction hearing to call 508-857-0272 to schedule an appointment in accordance with their court date.
“We are beyond delighted to be working in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General to assist families in our community who are struggling to maintain their housing during the pandemic through this innovative Eviction Technology Access Grant,” said Dennis P. Carman, President and CEO of The United Way of Greater Plymouth County’s Family Center at Community Connections. “Home is the very foundation of a family’s health and well-being, and so we must and will do all we can to prevent homelessness.”
Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF) focuses on providing immigrant families in Massachusetts with housing counseling services to prevent foreclosures. CAF encourages those who are interested in accessing the funded technology for their hearing to reach out to their Lawrence office, located at 375 Common St., Suite 204, at 978-332-7108.
“Centro de Apoyo Familiar is grateful for the AG’s Office’s commitment to help families avoid eviction,” said Damaris Frías, Chief of Operations and Co-Founder, Centro de Apoyo Familiar. “CAF is pleased for the opportunity to work in partnership with the AG’s Office in this project.”
The Lynn YMCA, at 20 Neptune Blvd., currently houses 45 tenants in its housing program where they provide safe, affordable options for low-income residents. In early spring, they will open a new building that, in addition to the access for eviction hearings, will provide technology access for telehealth visits, remote learning, and other services that require secure, private connection to the internet. Those interested in accessing the technology should reach out to the Lynn YMCA at 781-581-3105.
“We are committed to assisting the Attorney General’s Office in their efforts to keep people in their homes during the pandemic,” said Andrea Baez, Senior Branch Executive of the Lynn YMCA. “The technology assistance and support we offer will help families access information on their housing rights, make it easier to apply for assistance, and advocate for themselves in housing court.”
The Eliot Center provides community-based services to more than 50,000 individuals and families throughout Massachusetts each year, delivering state of the art, evidence-based programming. It fuses community resources, funding resources, and a vast array of services to ensure that the high-quality programs bring hope to those served. To schedule an appointment to use the technology at the Eliot Center at 548 Broadway in Everett call 781-581-4750.
“The mission of the Family Resource Centers is to support families by connecting with them with services and local community agencies, during the COVID-19 pandemic we continue exploring new supportive ways and adjusting to their needs,” said Liliana Patino, Program Director at the Eliot Family Resource Center at Eliot Community Human Services. “Our services are free and open to all families.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, AG Healey’s Office has handled more than 200 complaints relating to the eviction moratorium and has been able to stop more than 80 illegal evictions. These include “self-help” evictions – where landlords attempt to circumvent the court process by forcibly removing the tenants.
In January, AG Healey issued an advisory to ensure tenants who are facing financial hardship and are at risk of losing their homes are aware of their rights and know how to access available assistance programs.
The AG’s Office urges tenants who are facing an eviction and have questions about their options to call the state’s information hotline at 211 or to call the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-8400.
Visit the AG’s COVID-19 resource page for information about how the AG’s Office can provide support during this crisis.