MLAC manages the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project to provide legal assistance in pandemic-related eviction cases.
The CELH Project expands the capacity of legal aid organizations to provide essential help to low-income tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19 and to eligible landlords who are owner-occupants of two- and three-family homes.
MLAC oversees the delivery of services through contracts with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and six regional legal aid organizations across the state: Community Legal Aid, De Novo, Greater Boston Legal Services, MetroWest Legal Services, Northeast Legal Aid, and South Coastal Counties Legal Services.
The CELH project provides referrals, legal information, assistance, and legal representation in all sittings of the Massachusetts Housing Court, including the lawyer for the day program, to preserve or achieve housing stability. When possible, it also provides legal assistance in District Courts with high-volume summary process caseloads and to prevent the termination of subsidies prior to court to avert eviction.
MLAC partners with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to:
– Recruit and train lawyers and paralegals for temporary, fulltime paid positions with regional legal aid organizations across the Commonwealth to provide support and legal representation at all stages of the eviction process, including assistance prior to a court filing, and
– Expand the pool of pro bono attorneys who provide support and legal representation to eligible landlords and tenants, at all stages of the eviction process, with support, training, and supervision from attorneys experienced in landlord-tenant law.
The program is part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Eviction Diversion Initiative, to support tenants and landlords facing financial challenges caused by the pandemic. The goal of this initiative is to keep tenants safely in their homes and to support the ongoing expenses of landlords after the Commonwealth’s pause of evictions and foreclosures expired on October 17. For more information please see the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project website.
A Guide to CELHP
This slide show, prepared for a briefing for Massachusetts legislators, explains how the program works, whom it serves, and how to get help.