Tanya DiStefano gave birth to a baby boy on Halloween. She returned home from the hospital to find an eviction notice on her doorstep.
“Rent in arrears,” it read in part. “Total $800.”
It’s been a tough year for DiStefano. She has a state subsidy to help pay the $1,250 monthly rent on a three-bedroom apartment in the Worcester County town of Spencer, but still has to come up with about $400 out of her own pocket. A roommate who shared the load lost two restaurant jobs in the spring and moved out. DiStefano said she can’t work because her older son, a kindergartner, is home from school. Now this.
“It was very terrifying,” she said. “You have a newborn baby. I don’t have the money for November. It caught up with me.”
On Monday, DiStefano’s landlord filed an eviction case against her in Central Housing Court in Worcester.
It’s one of several places around Massachusetts where new cases have piled up quickly since the state ended its eviction moratorium in October. Like the counties that are home to Springfield and Fall River, Worcester County has seen far more filings, per capita, than Suffolk County — dominated by Boston — or suburban locales such as Middlesex and Norfolk Counties.
It’s a trend that appears to highlight yet another way the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting hardest in places that were struggling before the health crisis, and could further exacerbate longtime divisions in the state’s economy and housing market.
“This is not a coincidence,” said Andrea Park, a housing attorney at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. “These are places with a lot of vulnerable people. They work service jobs. Maybe they don’t speak English. They’re dealing with a lot.” …Read more in The Boston Globe.