Housing equity bill is urgent to hold pandemic-related suffering at bay

I applaud Timothy Scalona’s urgent call for the Legislature to pass the COVID-19 housing equity bill (“The eviction crisis is upon us — the Legislature must act,” Opinion, Sept. 9).

Action for Boston Community Development has worked feverishly to meet the needs of our most vulnerable communities throughout a pandemic that has ravaged their health and stability. While some area residents have emerged from the worst of this protracted public health emergency, lower-income people of color continue to be affected severely, struggling with loss and trauma and facing crushing debt.

This legislation has several provisions that will hold suffering at bay. That’s a critical point, because billions of dollars in assistance is available, but shockingly, it has not made its way to the people who need it.

An answer to this operations failure already exists. States and localities scrambling to disburse these funds should turn to the national network of community action agencies such as ABCD and other housing nonprofits and antipoverty agencies, which have programs in place to serve those in need quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

The Legislature must pass this bill so that together we can prevent the kind of anguish that will affect families for generations.

John J. Drew
President and CEO
Action for Boston Community Development