Rep. Stanley co-sponsors bill to promote housing stability and homelessness prevention
In a letter to the Joint Committee on Housing, Rep. Stanley voiced his support for legislation he cosponsored promoting housing stability and homelessness prevention in Massachusetts. The legislation would provide eligible low-income tenants and owner occupants of 1 to 3 family homes full legal representation in eviction cases from the moment a complaint is filed. The Right to Counsel (RTC) program would be funded through a dedicated line-item in the Judiciary budget that would not impact current funding for legal aid programs or housing stability programs. Under the bill, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) would solicit proposals from organizations with substantial experience in landlord/tenant law to provide free legal assistance to eligible participants. MLAC would then oversee the program with the assistance of an advisory committee.
Currently, there is a significant disparity between landlords and tenants in evictions proceedings regarding access to legal representation. Approximately 81% of landlords have a lawyer in these cases while over 90% of tenants do not have any sort of legal representation. This inequity leaves many low-income tenants vulnerable to displacement.