Seek Help, if Facing Eviction

Trahan Hosts Livestream with Tips 

By Amy Sokolow Boston Herald  – Lowell Sun 8/9/21

For renters worried about making ends meet and having trouble making rent payments, or whose landlord has said they’re seeking an eviction for other reasons, housing advocates in Massachusetts have a few tips to help.

“ If ( tenants) get a notice to quit, they have to understand that it is just the first step in a very long process,” said Steve Meacham, coordinator of organizing for City Life/ Vida Urbana, a grassroots community organization in Boston.

He emphasized that tenants should not move if they receive that first communication. “ Without any opposition, the eviction process goes incredibly quickly, like a matter of weeks,” he said. “ If you raise defenses … you can fight off that eviction at least long enough to negotiate some alternatives.”

Another tip, shared with renters during a livestream hosted by U. S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D 3rd., of Lowell, on Friday, is to seek help — even if you’re not sure you qualify. “ Now more than ever, we’re working with people that have never even thought about asking for help before,” said Lindsey Richmond from Resources for Communities and People.

“ If you find yourself in a situation where you think you might be late on your next month’s mortgage or even rent, you reach out and see what kind of assistance you may qualify for.”

Another guest at Trahan’s talk, Connie Martin of Community Teamwork, emphasized the importance of having a complete application for rental assistance, which entails “carefully reading all the questions, getting all the documentation uploaded,” she said, She advised that renters talk with their landlords so they know to expect the application.

Finally, Meacham emphasized that each side has a legitimate case to win. “A tenant should recognize that their relationship with their landlord is a business relationship,” he said. “In every business relationship, each side has strengths and weaknesses, each side has tools that they can use to try to win.”