By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
With two weeks to go before the July 31 end of a national eviction moratorium imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Fall River is preparing to serve an anticipated flood of people looking for help.
Mayor Paul Coogan said Thursday that he has earmarked $1.5 million dollars in “CARES Act” funds to help tenants on the brink of eviction.
“Coming out of this moratorium, we know that there is going to be confusion, and there is going to be a lot of stress, Coogan said.
“It is our priority that the hard-working, upstanding citizens of Fall River have the support and guidance they need to navigate this difficult time”, as he said that he has designated Catholic Social Services to administer the funds.
“We also want to ensure that no one is improperly forced out of a home and that no one is left without a place to go,” said Coogan.
“The goal is to keep people housed, prevent people from losing their housing”, said Catholic Social Services’ Program Coordinator Sheila Chasse.
“We do ask landlords and tenants in the community to please have patience,” Chasse said, as she urged people not to act in haste.
“I really can’t stress it enough, please do not vacate your home. There’s really no place to go out there,” Chasse added.
She said that those who apply for aid can expect up to six months of assistance and other so-called “wrap around” services by calling 774-520-2555
A legal aid group, South Coastal Counties Legal Services is adding staff to handle an expected surge in people looking for legal help, said the director of the Fall River office, Rob Mount. He said people can go to the group’s website: www.sccls.org
“What Mayor Coogan and this group of leaders from the community is doing today is turning on the lights for hope for a lot of people who may be thinking that this summer they’re going to be out on the streets,” said Dax Crocker of the Coalition for Social Justice.
Crocker said the group plans to go door to door to urge tenants and landlords to follow the process and apply for assistance.