With enhanced COVID-19 unemployment insurance approved by Congress, many homeowners
may be able to receive close to 100% of their previous income by filing for unemployment. This
could enable homeowners to continue paying their mortgage. If this is possible for homeowners,
it is the always best option and will result in no extra costs now or in the future.
If it is not possible, here are our suggestions for what a homeowners should expect from their
lender during this crisis. MAHA is ready to help those homeowners who took our class in the
past and/or have a mortgage from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership SoftSecond or ONE
The key to all of this is what lenders will do in negotiating with borrowers. It is typical for
lenders to offer forbearance but then to expect repayment over a relatively short period of time
(3-6 months or so). That will increase a homeowner’s monthly obligation substantially as they
try to pay their regular mortgage payment plus a portion of what is owed.
Given that the recovery from this crisis is likely to be slow for many, the only feasible solution is
to move the missed payments to the back end of the loan when the borrower has many more
options. What is key, however, is that the lender not capitalize the arrears and collect interest on
the missed payments. In one scenario for a borrower that is in the second year of paying their
mortgage, missing $1,700 in three months of interest payments would result in them paying an
additional $4,490 by the end of the 30 year term.
Dear Governor Charlie Baker,
The world is in crisis and now more than ever we appreciate your resolute leadership. 74 of
Greater Boston Interfaith Organization Friends and allies representing civic sector institutions –
communities of faith, unions, social service providers, healthcare centers and schools – are
deeply committed to assisting in the fight against COVID-19. Though we are no strangers to
crisis, this one is truly unprecedented. In this time of crisis, we are called by our faith to honor
the sanctity of human life and to exercise our Prophetic voice with the most vulnerable among
us. We are writing to you for two purposes. The first is to extend an offer of help during this
We are willing to step up in a range of ways, including mobilizing our people for any job
that keeps us safe and pursuing any other possible ways to help. We will do anything in our
power to slow the spread of this epidemic, treat the sick and aid in the recovery.
The Honorable Governor Charles Baker
Senate President Karen Spilka
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo
Members of the Massachusetts Legislature
We call upon the Governor, Senate, and House to pass a clear moratorium on evictions and
foreclosures NOW and support renters and homeowners across the Commonwealth during
this global COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first day of the month comes and goes, hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts renters
and homeowners agonize over whether they will be able to make rent and mortgage payments or
be forced to face eviction and homelessness, at a time when they have been told to stay home.
We urge the Governor and the Legislature to take meaningful and swift action to protect the lives
of Massachusetts renters and homeowners during this unprecedented public health crisis.by
passing a strong eviction moratorium.
At its core, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is an emergency public health protection
measure, one that must match the extraordinary restrictions already placed on businesses,
schools, and workers across the globe. Governor Baker has reiterated the need to stay home and
maintain social distancing, the best protection against preventing COVID-19 infections. The
Governor and public health officials have warned that the worst is yet to come in Massachusetts.
Keeping people at home is a matter of life and death.
In order to meet these critical public health goals it is imperative that evictions be paused from
start to finish. Placing a clear and temporary freeze on all aspects of eviction is the only way to
ensure that people stay in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There are several key
principles that we believe must be included in any eviction moratorium legislation for it to meet
its public health goals:
The House has now passed a moratorium bill, H.4615. That bill addresses many of the key
principles noted above, and is a strong foundation for enacting a pause on evictions. That
temporary pause must start from the first eviction notice sent to a tenant through the time a
tenant could be forcibly removed from her home by a sheriff. H.4615 can and should be further
improved, mainly by ensuring that any exceptions to the moratorium are narrow and reflect only
the most serious emergencies, and also by simplifying the language that pauses late fees. But it
is a good starting place and we urge that, with these improvements, it be enacted as soon as
Since March 16, 2020, when the courts began instituting closures and reduced services, over 480
new eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts Housing Courts. This number represents
hundreds of families possibly endangering themselves, their friends and families, and the public
as they may move or become homeless.
We, and our broad network of organizations, stand ready to work together to consider next-phase
issues with the time and consideration they deserve, including how to provide mortgage and rent
relief, how federal legislation will affect Massachusetts, and other questions that will arise as we
anticipate the end of the emergency. However, in order to protect lives today we urge the
Governor and the Legislature to act decisively to pass an eviction and foreclosure moratorium
that will keep our citizens and community safe.
We appreciate the efforts that Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo, and other members and
their staff have made to listen to and consider our proposals. We thank you for leadership during
this difficult time.