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Lawrence News

Posted on: March 5, 2021

City Allocates $935,531 in Federal Funds to Eviction Defense and Short-Term Emergency

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Contacts:

  • Sheila Ramirez, Press Secretary & Policy Advisor  978-620-3010 /  sramirez@cityoflawrence.com
  • Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, Community Development Director 978-620-3526 / vmartinezdominguez@cityoflawrence.com  


Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, along with Lawrence’s federal delegation, Community Development Director Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, and partnering agencies, Northeast Legal Aid and Lawrence CommunityWorks, announces the availability of additional CARES Act funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus (COVID19).  These additional funds will further support homelessness prevention assistance for low-to moderate income residents through expanded eviction defense program services, and short-term emergency rental assistance for households in rent arrears or facing imminent default. 

“These supplemental funds are critical in supporting ongoing local efforts to keep our residents safe and secure in their homes, alleviate the housing burden, and provide much needed legal assistance to low-to-moderate income residents that have lost their employment income as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Kendrys Vasquez.  “We are grateful to Congresswoman Lori Trahan, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, for advocating for these funds through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help us address housing insecurity among our most vulnerable residents,” concluded Mayor Vasquez. 

“We are very happy to receive this grant to strengthen our response to the misery and misfortune caused by the current health crisis” said Northeast Legal Aid’s Executive Director George K. Weber, “and we look forward to working with the City to assist as many low and moderate income Lawrence residents we can who are facing the terrible prospect of an eviction during a pandemic.” 

“Lawrence CommunityWorks, like many of our partners around the city, has been working tirelessly to support Lawrence residents affected by the pandemic,” said Jessica Andors, Lawrence Community Works’ Executive Director.  “So many of our people have lost jobs, had to stay home with children learning remotely, or had to care for sick family members.  One of the biggest ways we can help our hard-working families is by providing practical help paying the rent as they work to get back on their feet. What is also important to recognize is that we are all in this together. By helping tenants catch up on rent, we are also helping landlords get up to date with their mortgage payments. We are grateful to the city for their leadership and support in enabling us to do precisely that,” concluded Ms. Andors. 

“Through its Office of Planning and Development, the City of Lawrence is pleased to expand its collaboration with Northeast Legal Aide and Lawrence CommunityWorks to use our second Community Development Block Grant-COVID 3 (CDBG-CV3) funds to preserve and stabilize residents’ tenancy through eviction prevention and legal representation services, and through short-term emergency rental assistance that will target low-to-moderate income residents and their families who continue to struggle with housing and financial instability,” said Community Development Director Vilma Martinez-Dominguez.  “These additional rental assistance funds complement our Emergency Solutions Grant-COVID (ESG-CV) CARES Act funding allocation received last September, managed by Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, destined to support homeless prevention and intervention services for extremely low income individuals and families in our City,” concluded Ms. Martinez-Dominguez.   

Northeast Legal Aid and Lawrence Community Works will be administering the funds on behalf of the City of Lawrence, targeting households whose income is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).   

For more information or to apply for legal assistance through the Eviction Prevention Program, residents facing eviction due to non-payment of rent as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in need of assistance with emergency housing and other public benefits, can call the intake line at Northeast Legal Aid at 978-458-1456.  You can also apply online at https://www.northeastlegalaid.org/get-legal-help or make an appointment to visit their Lawrence office located at 50 Island Street, Suite 203A, Lawrence, MA. 

Households with incomes between 50—80% of the AMI, may submit their applications for short-term emergency rental assistance (up to three consecutive months or up to $6,000, whichever is less) via email at rentalassistance@lawrencecommunityworks.org with the subject line “CDBG-CV Rental Assistance Program” and your last name and first initial.  Applications will also be accepted via U.S. Postal Service mail or drop off at Lawrence CommunityWorks’ office, located at 168 Newbury St, Lawrence, MA 01841 Attention: Housing Stabilization Center.  For more information or to drop off your application, please call 978-685-3115 between 9 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  

All applicants will be assigned a number.  Complete applications for the Eviction Prevention Program and the Short-Term Emergency Rental Assistance Program will be processed in the order they are received.  

CDBG CV3 Rental AssistanceEviction Prevention Program

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About the Office of Planning and Development In 2014, Lawrence City Council approved the reorganization of the Community Development, Economic Development, Inspectional Services and Planning functions under the umbrella of Office of Planning and Development. Under this umbrella, the Community Development Department (CDD) aims to enhance the physical environment and improve the quality of life for the diverse community of Lawrence.  The CDD administers a robust Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, one of the largest sources of funds to help the community, a HOME Investment Partnership Program grant, an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and the Lawrence Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Initiatives grant.  These programs are funded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

About Northeast Legal Aid Northeast Legal Aid has over fifty years’ experience in eviction defense work, representing low-income families and individuals. Northeast Legal Aid (NLA) is a nonprofit organization delivering free legal services to low-income and elderly individuals in civil legal proceedings, like housing, family law, public benefits, consumer protection, and racial justice. Northeast Legal Aid’s subsidiary, the Northeast Justice Center, also provides immigration assistance among other types of legal aid. 

About Lawrence CommunityWorks Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) is a community development corporation that weaves together community planning, organizing, and asset-building efforts with high-quality affordable housing and commercial development to create vibrant neighborhoods and empowered residents. By facilitating conversations and action on community priorities, LCW engages partners and a network of youth and adult residents in opportunities to move themselves and the city of Lawrence forward.

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