The Chelsea Collaborative, led by Executive Director Gladys Vega, hosted a virtual Town Hall Zoom meeting with City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Housing Court Chief Justice Timothy Sullivan and his staff.
During the bilingual forum moderated by Martha Soto, the participants discussed the moratorium on evictions and the housing resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico helped open the forum, beginning by praising Ambrosino and Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega for their efforts during the health crisis.
“City Manager Tom Ambrosino is doing a fabulous job in a very, very tough situation,” said DiDomenico. “And Gladys Vega, who I call, ‘the hero in the state right now,’ who is working harder than anyone to make sure that everyone has food and make sure that everyone has what they need. Gladys is not only getting attention in the state but national attention as well for all that she is doing in our community.”
DiDomenico highlighted the work being done in the Legislature to help Chelsea, including the evictions and foreclosure bill “to make sure people are not getting put on the street during this pandemic.”
“This bill also helps landlords as well, to make sure we don’t have foreclosures happening in our communities,” explained DiDomenico.
Justice Sullivan highlights open communications
Mr. Sullivan, who is chief justice of the Mass. Housing Court Department, delivered remarks that were thorough and informative.
The well-known judge, attired in his official judge’s robe, is known as “a great friend to Chelsea.” Justice Sullivan drew praise from local residents for not only for being fully engaged and present for the entire town hall forum but highlighting the importance of open communications between the Court and the Chelsea community during these difficult and unprecedented times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
“I’m here today with other members of our Housing Court team, Eastern Division Clerk Magistrate Mike Neville, Chief Housing Specialist Alex Valderrama, Deputy Court Administrator Ben Adeyinka, and Administrative Attorney Jorge Ghazal.”
Sullivan said the Housing Court has always appreciated the level of communication that Court has always enjoyed with the Chelsea Collaborative and the Chelsea community at-large.
“It’s important for us in the Housing Court to maintain this type of open communication with the various communities that rely on the services that are available in Housing Court, especially during times of uncertainty like we’re facing now with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sullivan.
“Under the leadership of Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, we all pride ourselves in the Trial Court on being accessible and available to the communities that we serve,” said Sullivan.
The chief justice said the Court’s goal at the town hall forum “is to inform you as to the services that are specifically available in the Housing Court. This was a commitment that we made to Gladys during our check-in call we made with the Chelsea Collaborative back in April.
“The very basic message today is that the Housing Court is open and the services we provide are available to you even though the building in Chelsea is currently not accessible,” said Sullivan. “We are here to help and we’re available to assist both landlords and tenants with any housing matters.”
Sullivan concluded his remarks, saying the Chelsea community is “resilient.”
“And it’s supported by such great leaders as Tom Ambrosino, the city manager, Sal DiDomenico, and the other members of the delegation.
“And I also support what the senator said relative to Gladys Vega. Gladys is a tireless sign of real hope for the community of Chelsea and it’s not only a pleasure to work with her, but it’s inspirational – she really inspires all of us.”
Eviction moratorium law
Attorney Ghazal spoke about the state legislature’s passage in April of the “eviction moratorium law which for the immediate future temporarily pauses the eviction process in the majority of eviction cases.”
Ghazal said after the eviction moratorium law was passed, the Housing Court issued a new standing order that takes a broader view of the law. Ghazal highlighted the key points of the eviction moratorium law, stating that “all deadlines in most eviction cases are on pause as long as the moratorium law is in effect; and the Housing Court is open, but the Court cannot accept, hear, or enter judgment in any eviction case that is considered under the law as non-essential.”