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Demonstrators In Boston, Somerville Call For Extension Of Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium

BOSTON (CBS/AP) —Activists, community leaders, and residents took to the streets of Boston and Somerville on Sunday with a crucial message. They're calling for an extension of the Massachusetts eviction and foreclosure moratorium, which has protected tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rallies on Sunday are a part of a series of actions across the commonwealth in support of the Guaranteed Housing Stability bill leading up to the expiration of the moratorium, which is set to end on October 17.

"We must prevent this looming crisis of mass evictions and foreclosures. Mass evictions would be a disaster for public health – people will end up spreading the virus when they are forced to double up in overcrowded apartments or shelters. Besides that, it would be incredibly unfair for tenants and working class homeowners who've already been hit so hard by COVID-19. And it would exacerbate racial inequality just as there's a nationwide call for a reckoning with systemic racism," said Lisa Owens, Executive Director of City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston, in a statement about the organization's rally on Sunday on the Boston Common.

The nonprofit organization City Life, using recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Survey Poll and the Metro Area Planning Council, says over 100,000 Massachusetts renters and homeowner households could lose their homes if the moratorium expires as planned.

In Somerville, organizer Nicole Eigbrett also used numbers to drive home her point.

"One in three Massachusetts renters households are at risk of eviction once this moratorium ends. And this is absolutely unacceptable," said Eigbrett. "People are facing housing insecurities, food insecurities. They're losing their loved ones. We can't let people go homeless during this crisis. It's absolutely morally unacceptable."

Cancel Rent sign
A protestor holding up a "Cancel Rent" sign. (WBZ-TV)

Massachusetts State Representative Mike Connolly was also at the Somerville rally.

"With COVID-19 on the rise, and winter right around the corner, that means thousands of people will unnecessarily die if we don't take action to stop this," Connolly said.

The Homes For All Massachusetts coalition is planning a march to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's house in Swampscott on Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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