Special to the Record
Senator Sal DiDomenico recently announced his amendment providing housing relief in the City of Chelsea was included in the Massachusetts State Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget. DiDomenico filed several amendments focusing on support for his local community and prioritizing many of the services and programs he has long championed in the Senate.
Centering his community’s most urgent needs, Senator DiDomenico filed an amendment specifically providing $125K to the City of Chelsea to address housing instability brought about by the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“This pandemic has been devastating for our community; we’ve been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus, and its fallout is felt acutely here in Chelsea, especially when it comes to evictions and foreclosures,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “The FY21 Senate budget includes many new provisions and funding to assist and protect renters and struggling homeowners. Still, I filed this amendment to ensure that our community has the additional support and relief that we need right now to address the many housing issues that have arisen and been exacerbated by the COVID crisis.”
This funding for Chelsea will work in tandem with the additional statewide housing supports included in the Senate budget that DiDomenico advocated for. These supports include:
•$50 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), as well as emergency changes to the RAFT program to increase the maximum amount of rental assistance that a household can receive from $4,000 to $10,000 and allow eligible households facing a housing crisis to access both RAFT and HomeBASE,
•$135 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP).
•Language requiring a landlord to provide a form with information related to the eviction process and resources for tenants.
•Language requiring a court to grant a continuance in a residential eviction case for non-payment of rent if the tenant has suffered a financial hardship due to COVID-19 and has a pending application for emergency rental assistance.
“We are still facing the greatest eviction crisis our Commonwealth has ever seen, which is why need to implement reforms & invest in our safety net for both renters and struggling homeowners,” said DiDomenico. “This budget takes key steps towards that goal, including the important investments in RAFT and MRVP, and of course the dedicated housing funding I secured for our Chelsea community. I am also very proud that the Senate budget includes language regarding “notice to quit,” which I have been advocating for to ensure that renters know their rights if and when facing eviction.”
The Senate budget is now pending before conference committee where it will be reconciled with the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.