In late June, the Boston-based nonprofit City Life / Vida Urbana released a report on racial disparities in the city's housing market titled “Eviction in Boston: The Disproportionate Effects of Forced Moves on Communities of Color 2020.”
The organization’s executive director, Lisa Owens, joined Boston Public Radio on Tuesday to talk about the report's findings, and what she said needs to happen to protect the thousands of predominantly Black Bostonians at risk of eviction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was accompanied by MIT’s Justin Steil, who also contributed to the study.
"We focused on all the eviction filings in Boston’s housing court over three years,” Steil said. "And we found that 70 percent of market rate eviction filings are in census tracts where the majority of residents are people of color, even though only about half of the city’s rental housing is in those neighborhoods.”
Owens said that a new bill from State Reps. Mike Connolly and Kevin Hogan would help quell what she and Steil have described as a coming “tsunami" of evictions in the city.
“When we’re talking about relief and regulations, it’s important to say number one, we have to protect the people who live in our neighborhoods, we have to protect tenants, we have to protect homeowners — particularly Black homeowners who have fought tooth and nail against all odds, to own and to stay in our communities,” she said.
"And we have to protect those small landlords that are renting, often below markets, because they understand that that’s what it takes to maintain stability of their neighborhoods,” she added.