Speaking Wednesday on GBH’s Boston Public Radio, Pine Street Inn President and Executive Director Lyndia Downie called the Biden administration's 60-day extension of the federal eviction moratorium for a large swath of the country a “huge plus” for struggling renters, but stressed that more urgent action is needed to keep the city’s at-risk population housed through the pandemic.

The Pine Street Inn is one of Boston’s foremost institutions for homelessness prevention. They offer shelter, outreach and job training to the city’s 4,600 men, women and children currently living without a stable roof over their heads.

“We know when people get evicted, not every person that gets evicted walks to the doors of the Pine Street Inn,” she said. “People will double up, they’ll go to friends and family. But eventually, we do know that 15-20% of those folks end up in shelters.”

Here in Massachusetts, state legislators opted to end the Commonwealth’s statewide eviction moratorium back in October. Still, there are protections for those dealing with financial burdens brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Massachusetts had agreed, even before the federal CDC eviction rule was about to expire, that anybody who had applied and was in process [of seeking assistance] would continue to have those protections,” she explained. She also noted the state’s RAFT program, which stands for Rental Assistance for Families in Transition.

“If you face eviction, RAFT can be used to help you with avoiding eviction,” she told hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan. “It can be used to help with utilities arrears, it can be used to pay back rent. It can also be used if you’re going to... say you do lose your house, you can apply for RAFT for first and last month’s rent as well.”

Shortly after making his Tuesday announcement on the moratorium’s extension, President Joe Biden acknowledged that the “bulk of the constitutional scholars” are likely to agree the move is unconstitutional.

“At a minimum,” he said, “by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money.”

Downie echoed that sentiment, saying the president’s move “buys us some time to get some of these applications that are pending out the door and get the money, you know, in landlords’ hands, hopefully.”

She added, “I think there will continue to be pushback [to the moratorium]. And we’ll continue to see court cases. So we’re gonna have to, I think, acknowledge that this is not gonna be a long-term solution.”