Ahead of Saturday’s end to the Massachusetts eviction moratorium, State Rep. Mike Connolly called Gov. Charlie Baker’s $171 million assistance plan “the barest layer of protection,” and said it won't sufficiently protect the hundreds of thousands of renters at risk of being evicted due to financial setbacks brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Just yesterday, the chief justice of the Trial Court said there could be up to 200,000 evictions pending, which is … just unfathomable,” Connolly said during an interview Thursday on Boston Public Radio.

Connolly had been a central part of the months-long State House effort to extend Massachusetts' eviction moratorium for up to a year beyond when Baker ends the coronavirus state of emergency. That effort is not expected to see success before the end of this week, when the moratorium ends.

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He said that while many at-risk renters have some financial and legal recourse under the current system, his "gravest concern" is that the state’s most vulnerable residents won't know how to navigate the complicated legal pathway of the current system, and will instead opt to leave their homes, believing that to be their only option.

"The first and foremost message to get out there is, a notice to quit is not an eviction,” Connolly said. "Getting a summons to appear for a trial date, that’s not an eviction. Being behind on your rent is not an eviction. So if you are struggling, reach out to government agencies, reach out to your local officials, reach out to community groups like City Life / Vida Urbana that organize and help connect local tenants to resources. And know that you’re entitled to a legal process — and that’s the hope."