Eviction protest planned for Wednesday, MA Policing Reform Bill updates, & more | July 20, 2020

JULY 20, 2020

See our other COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.

Lynn residents, community groups to speak out at City Hall on Wednesday, call for Emergency Housing Stability Bill

Groups call for passage of HD.5166/SD.2992 to stop 20,000 evictions expected with August 18 moratorium expiration and to stabilize housing

2018 photo courtesy of Lynn United For Change FB page

Residents from across Lynn will gather on WEDNESDAY, JULY 22 at 11:00 AM in front of LYNN CITY HALL to demand the state government enact legislation to protect against an expected wave of evictions and foreclosures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rally will focus on the need to pass HD.5166 / SD.2992, An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability during the COVID-19 Emergency & Recovery. With the Massachusetts eviction and foreclosure moratorium currently set to expire on August 18 and the legislative session expected to end July 31, Lynn residents are urging immediate passage of the bill.

Speakers at the event will also address the connection between housing policy and systemic racism, and the need for action at the local level to address the underlying crisis of housing unaffordability, eviction, and displacement. The event is organized by Lynn United for Change and is expected to include representatives of several Lynn area community, labor, and faith groups.

Following the protest in front of City Hall, a delegation will carry the groups demands into Boston to take part in a rally and car caravan protest in front of the State House along with groups representing tenants, homeowners, and small-scale property owners from across the state.

The Housing Stability Guarantee legislation is sponsored by 89 members of the state legislature, including three members of Lynn’s State House delegation: Representatives Capano, Cahill, and Ehrlich.

Proponents say it is the only way to head off an enormous wave of evictions when the current moratorium ends. The state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium was enacted in April in response to the COVID-19 crisis; State Housing Court officials and landlord advocates predict up to 20,000 eviction cases as soon as it ends. The expiration of increased unemployment payments under the Federal CARES Act on July 31 will put even more tenants at risk.

With new data showing the disproportionate impact of evictions on Black people and communities of color in Massachusetts, and one million state residents still unemployed, advocates warn that failure to pass this bill will exacerbate existing inequities, further entrench systemic racism, harm public health, and do tremendous harm to the very areas that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.

An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability during the COVID-19 Emergency & Recovery has been endorsed by over 220 organizations (including numerous Lynn and North Shore groups) and was filed by Housing Committee Co-chair Kevin Honan and State Representative Mike Connolly in the House (HD.5166), and by Senator Pat Jehlen in the Senate (SD.2992). The bill includes provisions to: protect renters from eviction for non-payment related to COVID-19; halt arbitrary “no fault” evictions and rent increases for 12 months; prevent foreclosures and provide mortgage deferment options for homeowners; and stabilize landlords with particular emphasis on owner-occupant and small-scale property owners.

Press release above from Lynn United for Change

COVID-19 testing info for this week in Lynn

Mobile COVID-19 testing will be offered in the Cottage St parking lot across from the Sacred Heart Church on Boston Street from 10AM-4PM until Friday, July 24th Additional locations will be available in the coming weeks.

Additionally, Lynn Community Health Center offers COVID-19 testing 7 days a week. You do not need to be a Lynn Community Health Center patient to be tested.

For more info. on how you can get a free COVID-19 test in Lynn through August 14th please click here.

“Grab N Go Summer Fun Buckets” event planned for Friday, July 31st

Click for full-resolution flier

From the Lynn Family Forward Resource Center: In lieu of our annual summer bash, we will have a safe, socially-distanced grab n go event outside of our FRC! We will have a summer fun bucket for each family that includes bubbles, chalk, a jump rope, beach balls and more. We will also have anti-racism books for kids, personal hygiene items and snacks. If families need groceries or diapers please let us know BEFORE the event and we’ll have your items ready!

Families MUST wear masks and keep a safe social distances from others. Unfortunately there is not a large enough area to hang out and we ask you leave the area after receiving your items.

To register, please call 339-883-2401 and ask for Yari or Olivia. You can also email yjiminian@centerboard.org or ogrinstead@centerboard.org. Please let us know your family name, phone number, email address, the number of children in your family and any special item requests.

For more info. visit their Facebook event page by clicking here.

MBTA to Resume Fare Collection Starting Today, Bus Operators May Bypass Stops to Avoid Overcrowding

The MBTA will resume fare collection on buses, on trolleys at street-level stops on the Green Line and Mattapan Line, and on the Commuter Rail beginning Monday, July 20.

Customers are encouraged to pay with a preloaded CharlieCard or CharlieTicket on buses and trolleys. Customers may also pay with cash. Commuter Rail customers are encouraged to use the mTicket app for payment or purchase the new Five-day Flex Pass on the mTicket app. The Five-day Flex Pass is a bundled fare good for any five days of travel within a thirty-day period. Fairmont Line customers also have the option to pay fares with CharlieCards at Zone 1A stations.

On MBTA buses, to avoid overcrowding, operators have the discretion to bypass a stop. If a customer with a disability is able to be identified while waiting at a stop to be bypassed, the bus operator alerts the Control Center, will notify that individual that the stop is being passed due to crowding, and will alert the customer to the approximate time of the next available bus that can accommodate them.

Customers should continue to make efforts to distance and are reminded that face coverings are required while onboard vehicles and within the MBTA system.

For more information, please visit mbta.com/coronavirus, mass.gov/COVID19, or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.

Details on MA Policing Reform Bill

  • Photo courtesy of Pexels user Pixabay

    The House and Senate both meet next Monday, July 27th at 11AM.

  • The House Ways and Means Committee publicly posted the flood of testimony pouring in on a Senate-approved policing reform bill. Together with the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, the committee on Friday published more than 400 pieces of testimony it received from the public ahead of debate this week. The House plans to officially introduce the bill Monday with debate scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
  • The bill would create a new permanent Commission on the Status of African Americans to help policy makers develop solutions to discrimination and other issues facing the Black community. The commission, as conceived in the bill, would be a resource for policy makers and a “clearinghouse” of research and information on issues impacting the Black community in Massachusetts. In addition to making policy recommendations to the Legislature and executive branch to ensure equal access to government services for Black residents and to address discrimination, the commission would also recommend candidates of color for positions throughout state government, including for appointments to board and commissions.
  • The bill also touches on the five main areas prioritized by the Black and Latin Legislative Caucus, including the creation of a new independent Massachusetts Police Standards and Training Commission. The commission would be responsible for licensing all law enforcement in the state every three years, with the power to revoke, or decertify, a police officer for misconduct, including the use of excessive force, bias, conviction of a felony, witness intimidation or submission of false time sheets.
  • House leaders are proposing to tie qualified immunity for police directly to the licensing process and revoke immunity in any case that results in the decertification of a police officer.
  • The bill would also ban the use of facial recognition software or any other form of biometric surveillance by a government official or agency unless specifically authorized by law. It would give the Registry of Motor Vehicles permission to use such technology in order to verify someone’s identity to issue a license or permit, and to perform a search at the request of law enforcement with a warrant.
  • Chokeholds would be banned, and police would be restricted from firing a weapon at a fleeing vehicle and from using tear gas, rubber pellets or dogs to control behavior unless there were no other options to protect public safety and other de-escalation tactics had been tried and failed.
  • The execution of no-knock warrants would also be limited, and the legislation would establish a right of citizens to “bias-free policing” and create a duty to intervene for officers who witness misconduct by other law enforcement.
  • House leaders are also proposing to put restrictions on the type of information school officials can share with law enforcement, including immigration status, religion, ethnicity, neighborhood of residence or suspected gang affiliations, unless it’s related to a specific incident. The bill also establishes new training and certification requirements for school resource officers, and establishes a new commission to develop a memorandum of understanding about the role of school resource officers and how they will interact with students.
  • Finally, the bill incorporates some changes to the governance of the State Police sought by Governor Baker earlier in the year that would, among other changes, allow a governor to hire the colonel of the State Police from outside the department.

Special thanks to MassAccess for the above information.

From Mayor McGee’s office: The Lynn Public Health Department has confirmed that as of today, the number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 510 with 6 new cases today. 3,200 Lynn residents have recovered and 106 have died. The total number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Lynn since March 21, 2020, including those who have died and recovered, is 3,816. Please visit the new City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.

We will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 through the City website (www.lynnma.gov), social media, and the Smart 911 emergency notification system (sign up at www.smart911.com).

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