When the pandemic first hit, Dezyre Lewis found herself unemployed and unable to pay the rent for her Dorchester apartment.
“It’s just been a really uncomfortable situation,” Lewis said. “If I’m not making any money to pay my landlord, my landlord isn’t making any money to pay her mortgage.”
Lewis applied for rental assistance through Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, or RAFT, a state-run homelessness prevention program that can provide up to $10,000 to eligible applicants. Lewis applied twice and was rejected both times. She’s not alone: More than 50% of the 36,485 applications processed in the last year were not accepted by the state, according to data from the Massachusetts Landlords Association.
“On the back page of the RAFT application it says, ‘Please do not call, you will hear from us within several weeks,’” Lewis said. “What is several weeks? That could mean two weeks to you, three months to me. I’m left in limbo, and it’s not fair to my landlord. Homelessness is something serious.”
Despite protections put in place to prevent evictions during the pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts residents are already finding themselves forced out of their homes, with federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of June. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed the pause in ousting tenants.
Read the rest of the story at GBH’s website.